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This is Story in the Story.
Due to the efforts of lawyers who volunteer their time and expertise, residents in the Hongqiao subdistrict of Shanghai have more legal knowledge.
In 2015, the Hongqiao subdistrict was chosen as one of four grass-roots communities on legislative matters by the Commission of Legislative Affairs of the National People's Congress. The other three are located in Xiangyang, Central China's Hubei Province, Jingdezhen, East China's Jiangxi Province and Lintao, Northwest China's Gansu Province.
Besides legal services, the subdistrict office deals with many cases - mostly family disputes. "My job is to coordinate the family disputes, to reduce the conflicts as much as possible," said Jiang Wenting, a four-star coordinator, who has been working in this subdistrict for eight years.
"I used to work in a company as a white-collar worker, but gradually I became fond of my current job," Jiang said. "Though I dealt with family issues every day, I felt satisfied and valued if I could help people."
Today’s Story in the Story looks at the ways in which the local community is benefitting from being more legally aware.
Wu Xinhui (right) offers legal consultation for a woman. (Photo: Global Times)
On a Thursday morning, Wu Xinhui, 34, was sitting in the reception room of the Hongqiao subdistrict dressed formally. Wu is a lawyer, who has practiced for more than 10 years. She has served as a volunteer lawyer in this subdistrict for seven years, providing legal counsel to the residents. This was the start to another day on the job.
A 70-year-old woman approached Wu, wanting help to deal with a family property conflict. "I want to protect my legitimate rights and interests," the woman surnamed Liu said. Wu carefully listened and suggested that she follow some steps to protect herself.
Over the course of an hour, five residents came to Wu who patiently gave them detailed explanations and suggestions.
"Sometimes I was busy with my job in the law firm, my colleagues will do the same job instead of me," said Wu.
Besides working as a lawyer, Wu is a coordinator in the subdistrict, responsible for soliciting residents' suggestions on legal matters. She recalled a case from several years ago.
According to Wu, a senior citizen in her 90s suffered family violence.
"The draft Anti-Domestic Violence Law protects children and women a lot," Wu said. "In fact, the senior citizens, especially those living with their children, also need more help."
As a coordinator, Wu proposed the amendment at a consultation meeting in 2015. Finally, the provision that "the elderly suffering domestic violence shall be given special protection" was added to the Anti-Domestic Violence Law.
"I have dealt with many similar cases, which inspired me to propose the suggestion that the Anti-Domestic Violence Law should also include seniors," Wu said.
Zhu Guoping was grateful that citizens’ suggestions were adopted. She had been working as the director of the neighborhood committee of the Hongchu community in Hongqiao subdistrict for nearly 30 years. Zhu became a coordinator in 2015.
Two decades ago, she was busy mediating family conflicts, which took up most of her time, she said.
"Now it's different. With the improvement of law, we can deal with these similar family conflicts in a legal way," Zhu said.
"I hope the model could be spread into more communities that more residents could benefit from it," Zhu said.
With rising legal awareness, more residents are capable of expressing their opinions and participating in more legal activities, according to Zhu.
During the seven years of Wu's service in Hongqiao subdistrict, she and her law firm have provided up to 2,000 hours of legal services.
On another Thursday morning, Wu again walked into a meeting room, sitting down with representatives including local residents, Changning district judges and an expat teacher, to have a discussion over a draft law on the prevention of juvenile delinquency.
(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Brian Lowe, Lance Crayon and Elaine Yue Lin. Music by: bensound.com. Text from Global Times.)