Wang Shurong(China)

Wang was from Xianghe County of Hebei Province. Throughout her life she has been fearless in fighting for her rights, first against abuses from her mother-in-law, then the right as a citizen to be nominated for election to the People’s Congress. She felt that the end result was not important but fighting for the right was.

In addition to fighting for herself, she also fought for the peasants. In 1992, she disputed the collection of homestead usage fees by the County. Wang had familiarized herself with the relevant laws and knew that the fee was in conflict with State legislation. Although the County would not admit fault, her village was nevertheless never asked again for that fee. Over the years, she had often fought for similar cases. She believed transparency was the most effective means to prevent abuses by authorities so she copied the relevant legislations y hand and posted them on her walls for the villagers to see.

The traditional minded peasants in the village had gradually awakened to Wang’s call. In 2000, she was supported by the villagers to claim the right for an open, direct election, the first time ever in the village. Wang was elected and entered the Village Committee. She made it a priority to fight against unreasonable impositions from government departments and services.

In 2002, she made it a case to fight against the “land reclaiming” fee imposed on peasants for building livestock pens on their own homestead. It was based on a provincial land management rule, but Wang felt it was in conflict with State legislation. She felt also that it would hinder the development of animal husbandry by peasants. She wrote a letter to the National People’s Congress in Beijing to bring up the case. In 2005, the provincial rule was amended and the fee was eliminated.

At the age of 66, Wang felt that her life was just beginning, and she would continue to study land legislations to protect the rights of peasants.

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