Celebrity Announces Independent Candidacy in Beijing

The wave of independent candidates has suffered various setbacks in their campaign to win local political office. But the movement has just gotten some new blood in Beijing–a celebrity. Cheng Yuting, born in 1988, is a well-known professional model who has won awards in various contests including the recent 2010 Asian Games Etiquette Volunteer Selection Contest. On October 10, she announced through her microblog that she will be running for the People’s Congress election in Chaoyang district of Beijing. Her tweet soon generated over 1,000 comments as well as over 4,000 retweets. Following is her announcement:

@Cheng Yuting: I have become an officially registered voter for the general election of Chaoyang district People’s Congress, and I have decided to run for election as an independent candidate. The significance of being an independent candidate includes: 1. To practice democracy. I’d like to explore the route to democracy while I am young, to exercise my rights and responsibilities as a citizen, and to attribute my enthusiasm and ideals (to democracy); 2. To promote public legal education. In our society, we all yearn for democracy and rule of law, but we rarely realize the real significance of elections. So I’d like to explore the route–the route of exercising rights that are protected by the constitution. 3. To repay the community.

本人已登记为北京朝阳区人大代表换届选举选民,现决定以自荐参选人身份参选。自荐参选意义有三:1、实践民主,在青年之时探索民主之路,行使公民之权利与义务,使得热血理想有归有属;2、普及法律,当下社会人人向往民主法治,却鲜有人知选举真正意义,故吾探路,探宪法赋予权利之路;3、回报社会。

Among the 1800 comments, some have questioned whether her real intention was to market herself, but many users including celebrities and famous intellectuals have expressed their support for Cheng. Below are some examples of their supportive tweets:

@Xiaoshu: Such good news! We’ve got another citizen participating and she’s also such a beauty. There’s one more optimistic reason to be one step closer to civil society. But this route can be bumpy. Please take care of yourself.

@Yaoge: As the first professional model independent candidate who won the first place of the 2010 Asian Games Etiquette Volunteer Selection Contest, she’s not only a outstanding professional model but a responsible citizen as well.

@Yu Jianrong: I’m supporting any citizens who’d run for the election, for it is a right guaranteed by law.

@Xing Lida: I’m supporting you, Tingting!

@Zhou Zhixing: Another friend has joined the line of independent candidates. I’m supporting you!

@Tian Weihua: Congratulations! Cheers!

Below is a picture of Cheng holding a book with a friend’s child. The title of the book reads “Interpretation of China’s Election Law of National and Local-level People’s Congress,” which has been a popular reference book for many independent candidates.

Below is a picture of Cheng standing in front of her neighborhood committee where she can officially register for vote.

Read more about the independent candidates for local election in China via CDT.