Radio France International’s Chinese-language broadcast interviewed Huang Qi of the Chengdu-based China Tianwang Human Rights Center. Huang Qi discussed how Chengdu human rights activists since October 2011 have focused on independent candidates despite constant repression by officials, discussing representative cases and overall trends.
The “China Tiangwang Human Rights Center” established an election planning section so as to help independent candidates. According to the calculations of the denter, about 70 independent candidates announced themselves for the city, district and county people’s congress in Chengdu, the highest number in the entire country. But the steady ramping up of the government’s repression made it impossible for many of the candidates to get the nomination form or had their eligibility to be candidates taken away. Incidents of repression of independent candidates occur regularly. Several cases are described below.
The Wang Rongwen Case
Wang Rongwen of Chengdu’s Qingyang District, when appearing to get the “preliminary election candidate form”, was refused by the street committee office party secretary for the reason of not fulfilling the legal requirement. Then Wang was confined to the office by the street committee office and was closely monitored and controlled to the point of being taken away on a “trip” for the purpose of ensuring that she would be unable to turn in the form. Wang Rongwen said, “In those days when the names of qualified candidates were being announced, I was not allowed to leave my home, I was not allowed to ride a bus, I was not given the candidate form. In short, they kept me under their control at all times.”
Wang Binru Case
During the February 17 Chengdu Wenjiang District official preliminary election, the independent candidates Wang Binru and Wu Yong won a victory among one small group of electors. Of the 150 voters in the group, then got 105 votes and 87 votes respectively. Why did these two candidates receive such high totals? Wang Binru explained that this happened because their opponents were local officials who because their work had long involved seizing land and tearing down housing were disliked by the people. Therefore the voters did not respect them. She and Wu Yong were trusted by the people and so they got their votes.
On the afternoon of February 25, the Chengdu Wenjiang District independent candidate Ms. Wang Binru while campaigning was surrounded by several police officers. According to a report, a police officer surnamed Zhang brought Wenjiang District police to surround Lin Binru. Wang Binru told the police that she was a candidate for the people’s congress in accordance with the law and campaigning is completely in accordance with the law. She said that she had distributed 200 leaflets. The police officer asked Wang Binru to go to the campaign committee to conduct her campaign. Wang Binru replied that she is disseminating campaign information to ordinary poeple, that the campaign committee did not conduct elections in line with democratic procedures in other electoral districts and so she would not go to the campaign committee.
The police officer impounded Wang Binru’s electric bicycle and injured the hand of bystander Li Fujing and did not allow Wang Binru to leave. Miss Wang Binru, exasperated, asked those police who were surrounding her, “Officer Li, you still won’t let me go. Are you romancing me? My kids are all older than you!”
Hu Jinqiong Case
On February 27, 2012 is the date for the election of the Shuangliu County People’s Congress representatives. On February 24, Chengdu City Shuangliu County independent candidate Hu Jinqiong went to the office of the standing committee of the Shuangliu County People’s Congress to file a report election fraud in the election there.
The facts and the reasons for Hu Jinqiong’s complaint:
1. The Shuangliu County Dongsheng Street Committee Baihe electoral district in organizing the election, the community cadre Luo Honghu and Zhang Qingzuo were election workers but also candidates in that community’s election. This violates the provision in the “PRC National People’s Congress and Local People’s Congress Representative Election Law” that stipulates that a candidate may not also be an election worker.
2. Parts two and three of Section 55 of the Election Law clearly stipulates that using violence, threats, cheating or other illegal means to hinder electors or those exercising their right to take part in elections or be elected; creates false election documents; falsely reports election results is illegal. These are all actions that damage the electoral process. Moreover, the Shuangliu County Dongsheng Street Committee Baihe electoral district during the electoral process has multiple times repressed or interfered with independent candidate Hu Jingrong and other independent candidates in Shuangliu County. This has done real damage to the electoral process for the Shuangliu County people’s congress elections and has severely interfered with our ability to take part in the election.
The China Tianwang Human Rights Center’s Huang Qi notes, as shown in his introduction, that the rights protection activists in Chengdu have a much greater understanding of their rights than ever before. They know how to stand up for their rights and take part in representative assemblies. They are now more able to go to visit the various government departments and more effectively defend the rights that properly have.
Huang Qi said: “They feel that their rights and their political rights have been infringed upon. Finally they realized that they must win their rights in a political struggle. Only in this way can they protect their economic interests. That is why so many rights protection activists took part in this election”.
Huang Qi said, it will be difficult to transform China’s dark elections in a short time but through the continual efforts of rights protection activists, we will make the people more aware of the importance of fair elections. In this way, we will certainly be able to overcome those powerful people who are manipulating the elections.
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