If you google the word “Taishi” in English, you may not find much. However, this continuously unfolding event has been going on weeks, and the latest developments are all over the Chinese-language Internet. This is about an election in the small village of Taishi (population about 2,000), Panyu districty, Guangzhou.
First, a bit of relevant background from Reuters via Boston Globe:
China, where the Communist Party has enjoyed a monopoly on power since 1949, is moving surely toward democracy, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Monday. “China will press ahead with its development of democratic politics, that is reconstruction, in an unswerving way, including direct elections,” Wen told a news conference ahead of an EU-China summit. “If the Chinese people can manage a village, I believe in several years they can manage a township. That would be an evolving system.”
China has introduced direct elections for village chiefs in more than 660,000 villages, and many of those elected are not party members. But it has dragged its feet on expanding suffrage for the election of officials at higher levels. Wen has in the past defended the delay, saying China is a vast, populous, underdeveloped country and levels of education are inadequate.