In recent months, citizens have taken to social media to declare their independent candidacies for local election. As a result of the recent government clampdown on these candidates, none were elected as a district level representative in Guangzhou; most were unable even to make it to the very first step of the election–being officially registered as a preliminary candidate. However, on September 1, Yu Nan, a Lanzhou-based independent candidate, revealed through his microblog that he successfully became an officially recognized preliminary candidate in his local neighborhood of Chengguan district in Lanzhou, Gansu Province. Compared to many other independent candidates who use microblogs as major campaign platform, Yu has kept a relatively low profile on Sina microblogging site until September 1–he did not have campaign slogans or posters, thus drawing little attention.
Yu, born in 1964, is a college educated self-employed professional, and he is not affiliated with any political parties in China. According to Yu, he is the only known independent candidate in his district, and possibly in all of Lanzhou. The other three preliminary candidates include a Secretary of a local Department of Revenue, CEO of a state-owned enterprise and a high-ranked local government official.
His announcement tweet was soon re-tweeted over 4,000 times, and he later confirmed on his microblog that hundreds of netizens have contacted him and/or expressed support. After the announcement, he has been campaigning via his microblog in order to succeed in the election, which will be held on September 15. A QQ discussion group of his was then created and is currently run by volunteers.
Following selected posts from Yu’s microblog sent at the beginning of this month. Translated by CDT, with thanks to Marlies Ruck and Sandra.
As an ordinary citizen representative, my personal integrity may be insignificant, I cannot save much money for taxpayers. But my mere shabby presence is an embarrassment to the elite. Extravagant tastes in clothing and food is not honorable. Spending the the taxpayer’s money means you should speak on the behalf of the taxpayer, address real concerns. Otherwise you do not deserve to spend the taxpayer’s money, you do not deserve to be called a representative of the National People’s Congress.
If I am elected, when I go to work I will squeeze into public transportation with everyone, all the suffering and difficulty of common people we will experience together, you can come to my house and vent your frustration. I live in your neighborhood, if you feel wronged I will accompany you to report it, if you want xx (to petition ) I will fund the copying of materials. I want to endure the stench of sweat from squeezing into public transportation while also drafting legislation for the National People’s Congress. In attending the National People’s Congress activities I absolutely will not spend one dollar of taxpayer’s money, in attending the People’s Congress I will pay for my own food and board. China is most in need of transparency now.
My experience in society: After graduating in 1990 I went to work, in 1999 I quit. Next I acted as a magazine editor and journalist, then a university press editor. Throughout this all, I myself enthusiastically participated in community service, willing to help the marginalized and protect legal rights and benefits.
I once was a laid off worker, I speak on the behalf of laid off workers: I currently am the most ordinary and common urban citizen, I am concerned with the income, and everyday affairs of all households; my principal is: only speak for the common people, don’t sing the praises of the elite, I only represent the interests of the majority of voters.
Please place your precious vote, select me to act as the representative for the National People’s Congress, I voluntarily serve you, handle your affairs, protect your legal rights and benefits. Select your neighbor to act as representative, everyone can see me everyday, when you encounter difficulty you can find me. If I am elected, I will establish a National People’s Congress Representative contact card , so voters can get in touch with me at any time. I will help you solve your issues, together we will all overcome difficulties. Thank you everyone for having confidence in me!
Today 3:28 PM, my joint endorsement registration form for participating as an independent candidate as Lanzhou Chengguan district’s 17th National People’s Congress representative has already been submitted successfully. Confirmation: my endorsers all together have 17 people who are qualified and legal voters in this district, 17 people’s signatures that are legal.
@兰州人余男：性 别：男 ；出生年月：1964年10月3日 ；文化程度：大学；民族：汉 ；无党派人士，无宗教信仰；职业：自由职业者。
Sex: male; birthdate: October 3rd, 1964; educational degree: university; ethnicity: Han; no party or religious affiliation; profession: self-employed.
There is a local, enthusiastic Netizen whom I have never met who established “Lanzhou Yu Nan election volunteers” group, group number: 172976574. For all locals who take public transportation for more than an hour, people living outside Lanzhou, and Netizens from across the country who wish to help campaign do not need to pay for transportation cost to find Yu Nan. By joining this group you can all help campaign. This group is managed by local volunteers who have never met before. Thank you.
*@ 兰州人余男：*我的有效联名推荐人@毅德：你说你的家人也是下岗工人，下岗工人的苦和愁没人体会到，只有下岗的人才知道，经过我们的几次长谈， 所以你冒险推荐我，签完推荐人名字后，你再三叮咛我“要保重”。兄弟：我的身后不光有@于建嵘、@笑蜀、@薛蛮子、@梁树新，还有数小时内数万全国各地网 友的狂轰问候
My candidacy endorsement Yi De: You said your family members are also laid-off workers. No one but laid-off workers knows their pain and worry. Following many long discussions, you took the risk to endorse me. After signing your name as a sponsor, you repeatedly cautioned me to take care of myself. Brother: standing behind me is not only Yu Jianrong, Xiao Shu, Xue Manzi, Liang Shuxin, but also within a few hours tens of thousands of netizens from across the nation have sent me countless greetings.
*@ 兰州人余男：*谢谢@薛晓春，等24位网友，我们以前没有见过面，线上认识后才知道是一个选区的，你们不怕种种干扰，勇敢的拿起了签字笔联名推 荐我，你们说，第一次见面时看见我剃着光头，鞋子上沾着泥巴，你们第一眼就认定了我。兄弟姐妹们，你们推荐我，我替大家维权，不为百姓着想的任何一条政策 我都投反对票。
Thank you to the 24 netizens, including Xue Xiaochun. We have never met face to face before, and not until after meeting online did I know we are one electoral district. You are not afraid of any interference, you bravely signed your name and endorsed me. You said, when it was the first time you saw my bald head, my shoes wet with mud, your first glance confirmed your convictions in me. Brothers, sisters, you endorsed me, I will defend your rights on your behalf, I will veto any policy that does not benefit the people.
Sweat and tears can melt the ice [we can overcome difficulties], because it comes from our heart, because it is powerful…
*@ 兰州人余男：*回复@CollierV:集中言谢，数万人狂轰滥炸，电话、QQ、微博@，天南地北，真的很令人感动，无法一一回复大家，很抱 歉，太抱歉了。中国有希望，民主，不是西人的专利，我们中国人不缺理想和智慧，不缺追求公平正义的勇气，不缺良知……//@CollierV:转发此微 博:第一个//@张奈儿_阡陌花迹:看见的朋友转一
In response to @CollierV: I want to collectively express my gratitude, there are countless phone calls, QQ messages, weibo posts, coming from everywhere, it is truly moving. It is impossible to respond to each of you, I am very sorry, so sorry. China has hope, democracy, it is not unique to Western people. Chinese have no shortage of ideals or wisdom, no shortage in the pursuit of justice, no shortage of morality…
*@ 兰州人余男：*泪水打湿我的眼睛，一样的泪水，不一样的感受。新浪微博，你推进了国家的进步，新浪微博，你见证了老百姓参政意识的觉醒，我们不 要炸弹，我们要一人一票，民主自由是世界潮流，中国，不仅仅是官家的，更是咱老百姓的。曾几何时，看到@刘萍1964、@梁树新、@夏商、@李承鹏，的落 荒，我也曾独自嚎啕大哭。
9月1日 12:18 来自新浪微博
转发(1148) | 评论(496)
Tears moisten my eyes, the same tears from before, but not the same feeling. Sina Weibo, you drive forward the country’s progress. Sina Weibo, you are witness to the people’s political consciousness awakening. We don’t want to bomb, we want one person one vote. Democratic freedom is the global trend. China, it is not only for government officials, it is even more for us the people. Not long ago, we saw Liu Ping, Liang Shuxin, Xia Shang and Li Chengpeng defeated, I also cried alone.
Upon the the advice of netizens, I begin campaigning by canvasing the streets and buildings. I begin by establishing an election volunteer service group.
After the Wenzhou train accident occurred, I saw the victims’ relatives were innocent, helpless, and had no place to turn, I myself sat at home and cried, life in this type of a country, regardless if you are middle or upper class, to see such injustice we can only feel helpless. You can only force yourself to silently swallow your tears. This country must change, one person one vote, save China.
The election committee already published the complete list of four candidates. On the list the first three people are all are leaders of respective departments, there is the tax bureau secretary, the CEO of an SOE, a government official. I am the only independent candidate. I belong to the ordinary people, elect a neighbor to act as representative. Lanzhou is pioneering independent elections via Sina Weibo.
It has already been approved, the candidacy list is already published. I am welcoming a new challenge. Voters come from more than 10,000 households within a 20 square km range. Starting from now until 8 am on Sept. 15th, I will be campaigning diligently, recruiting local Netizen volunteers. I will be responsible for all expenses. I hope that not everyone will be indifferent again.
For more on the independent candidates, see an article from the Washington Post, and previous translations from CDT.
Update (9/14/11): Yu’s candidacy was revoked on Sept. 8 for no reason despite the fact that he was one of the four “official” candidates. There are now only 3 officially registered candidates–and they only need 3. CDT is translating relevant tweets from Yu about his current situation and will post them shortly.