Director: Zhao Liang
“Even Franz Kafka would find it hard to credit the systemic injustice denounced in Petition.” - Screen International
In his quest to give voice to the unheard masses of China, filmmaker Zhao Liang spent 12 years gathering footage, much of it secretly filmed, to tell a story of the plight of thousands. Travelling from around the country to visit Beijing's Complaints Office, Chinese citizens with grievances find themselves stuck in a bureaucratic nightmare that can last years. Met with indifference, rejection and even physical abuse by the system supposedly in place to help them, the petitioners experience despair, mental illness and even death.
In the shantytown of ‘Petition Village' the complainants live in fear, doing their best to avoid the unscrupulous government ‘retrievers' sent to dissuade petitioners - but they remain heroically determined to have their day of justice.