She communities have long existed within the boundaries and political control of the Chinese nation-state. In pre-Communist times, they were administered by soldiers and officials sent by dynastic rulers. Communist party and state functionaries, whether delegated to She settlements or locally recruited, continue the tradition, performing educational, adjudicative, and enforcement roles. At present, there are nine "autonomous areas" of county level or lower in which She are granted some degree of freedom by authorities to administer their own affairs. She, for example, have been exempted from the strict, government-regulated family-planning programs implemented elsewhere in China. The hand of the state is evident, however, in the Chinese-language schools whose curricula offer, among other things, classes on "national policy." She have a formal, if weak, voice in national and provincial affairs through their invited representation at political consultative congresses, which serve as advisory bodies to the effective governing agencies. The She traditionally relied upon lineage elders for the disposition of local affairs. They not only presided at ritual events, but also served as mediators and judges for intracommunity or intrafamilial disputes. Lineage leaders deferred to customary law in dispensing justice, and disputants were obligated to obey their decisions. Punishments for offenses were comparatively light. In a case of stolen property, for instance, the offender typically had only to return what was taken.