In late April, a laid-off worker named Liu Ping announced her candidacy for the local People’s Congress elections in her city in Jiangxi. Subsequently, a number of bloggers and microbloggers took to social media sites in China to do the same. As David Bandurski points out at China Media Project, these local elections are, in theory, open to the public. But in reality they are tightly managed by the Communist Party. While the government has made an effort to rein them in, they are continuing.
This movement was galvanized when popular author and blogger Li Chengpeng announced his candidacy for elections in Chengdu. Li Chengpeng, born in 1968, is a former soccer commentator and an author who has become a popular blogger with over three million followers on Sina Weibo. In 2008, he traveled to the Sichuan earthquake region as a volunteer and wrote an essay titled, The True Story of the Miracle Survival of the Students and Teachers of Longhan Elementary School in Beichuan. He recently published a novel that took a critical look at forced demolitions in China. A number of prominent cultural figures, writers, and academics have endorsed his candidacy including blogger Han Han, film director Feng Xiaogang, and legal scholars Yu Jianrong and He Weifang.
Li Chengpeng wrote the following blog post in response to an editorial in Global Times about the independent candidate movement. Translated by CDT:
I have been asked why I am running for the local people’s congress election. And here I reply:
I know there has been a sky-high “Wall” in this village, but no one knows how it was on the other side of the “Wall”. Some tried to walk around for three days but still could not find where it ended, so they gave up. Some walked for a whole
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