In the late nineteenth century, both internal rebellions and external wars forcibly

prompted the Qing rulers to conduct reforms in a variety of areas including the

law. As a result, the late Qing state adopted a more tolerant attitude toward skip-

ping and false complainants as well as collective complainants. It also attempted

to establish a special Administrative Court expressly to deal with commoners’

complaints against officials. In addition, the last years of the Qing witnessed a

greatly enhanced role of public and private media in publicizing people’s indi-

vidual and collective complaints. All of these efforts, in theory or in practice,

further expanded and strengthened subjects’ natural right to complain. As the

West moved into China and China became more aware of the rest of the world,

Chinese at various levels of society turned to the West and Japan for institutions

that could increase communication between the top and bottom of society.