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China on the move: Villagers' election

2009-09-15 12:25 BJT

Special Report: 60th Anniversary of PRC |

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Direct election of a villagers' committee originated about twenty years ago. This is seen a wide and effective practice of socialist democracy in the vast Chinese countryside. Voting for their own leaders become a self-conscious act for villagers, and the election become one of the biggest events every three years. Our reporter Xu Zhaoqun went to Jiangmei Village in the north of Fujian Province and witnessed the event.

This is the fifth time Jiangmei villagers voted to choose their leader. The scene was still chaotic as hundreds of villagers were gathering.

Miao Chengtang was one of the earliest voters. He told reporters he had to work in the field after voting. But he then decided to stay longer, discussing who to vote for with his fellow villagers.

The farmers' enthusiasm for the voting were obvious. Many had to climb over mountains to get here. Buddhist nuns from a nearby temple also came to exercise their rights.

A simple curtain separated the crowds and the voters, so they could secretly tick the name they preferred. Only designated staff members from the village committee stayed inside the booth to help people who could not read.

After several discussions with other voters, Miao Chengtang made his decision and cast what he called "a sacred vote".

Jiangmei villager, Fuding City of Fujian Province, said, "I voted for the one I am satisfied with."

One of the two candidates, Miao Yougao had been the deputy head for years. He looked very confident talking with his supporters.