Immer mehr Chinesen ziehen vor Gericht und lassen die alten kommunistischen Mediationsprozesse vor Nachbarschaftskommittees außen vor, so die LA Times: Zhao Jin's bright and sleepless nights began shortly after he moved into his home less than a year ago. Outside the front balcony of his second-floor apartment, four lights from a storefront sign beamed into his bedroom, through the thick curtains and into his weary eyes. When he complained to storeowners, they got angry and told him to get lost. But the 26-year-old industrial equipment salesman retained a lawyer and filed suit. Two months later, Zhao got even. The People's Court of Shanghai ordered the decorations store to kill its sign lights. "They violated my living space," Zhao said recently in his bedroom, where, with a look of satisfaction, he drew open the curtains to show the blackness of the night. Zhao didn't have much confidence in China's legal system, but he said of his court experience: "I'm very satisfied. It was quick and efficient." Not that long ago, people like Zhao would have bottled up their anger and endured the suffering. Or they might have taken their grievances to "residents' committees," neighborhood support groups formed in the early days of Communist China to settle disputes and look out for thieves and spies, among other things. But with a newfound sense of their rights and more lawyers to back them up, a growing number of Chinese are bypassing these committees and taking their cases to court. Reports of all manner of cases appear in newspapers: A Guangzhou man sues a restaurant after three mice fall in his meal. Disgruntled movie fans in Hangzhou take a theater to court for a 10-minute delay. A Chongqing woman asks a judge to punish her neighbor for naming a dog after her and then scolding the pet in public. Nationwide, more than 781,000 civil lawsuits were filed in China last year, according to government figures. That's 115,000 more than two years earlier.
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