In the Qing Ling mountains that separate the Northern and Southern parts of China, a good many villages are located at high altitude, some of them above 3 000 meters. This region has escaped almost all infrastructural reforms and many communities remain isolated. Yet, as in any village in the valleys, the same types of interpersonal problems arise and need to be dealt with.
To try and solve the unavoidable conflicts inherent in humans living together in those circumstances, the administration has created a system of itinerant justice. The citizen no longer has to go to court, it is the court that comes to him: the judges come to meet the citizen. With this documentary film, we follow the daily life of a team of travelling judges. They move on motorbike, or if the engines can’t go further, they even walk to their destinations.
Through two particular cases – a retired peasant who is seeking protection against a son-in-law chasing him out of his own house, and a handicapped doctor who requests, for very noble reasons, to be granted the right to divorce his young wife – we will go to the very heart of the functioning of this itinerant justice, this travelling court.
Even if in the future a four-wheel drive might replace the old bikes, this very rudimentary court, essential for the balance and the harmony of this rural society, performs its duty through communication and dialogue. Far from urban Justice and strict Law enforcement, the solicitude of these men of the Law seems to turn this kind of justice into one of the Arts of living.