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Complaint systems have existed in China and, indeed, throughout the world for many years. In 2004, there was a debate in the People's Republic of China (PRC) over the Letters and Visits System ( xinfang zhidu), designed to allow people with complaints to register them with the upper levels of the government. Claims that it should be abolished in order for the judicial system to become more independent from the political and administrative systems were met with fierce opposition by those who felt that the Letters and Visits system had deep roots in the PRC political system and that it couldn't just be abolished. Some also felt that it also protected the rights of citizens and remained an important venue for people to lodge complaints against the abuses of local people. Both parties to the debate in China focused on the Letters and Visits System in the PRC and generally overlooked several different kinds of complaint systems that preceded it during China's long recorded history. Indeed, despite the rich heritage of numerous complaint systems in Chinese history, most Western as well as Chinese studies of one or more complaint systems in the PRC and earlier periods have paid little systematic attention to the origins, development, practices, impact, and nature of similar institutions in the longue durée of Chinese history. This book fills this gap, providing the reader with a comprehensive study of complaint systems in Chinese history from early times to the present. As such it will be of huge interest to students and scholars of Chinese history, politics and law.