China’s first celebrity independent candidate, Cheng Yuting, was not able to meet the nominator requirements for candidates and thus is ineligible for the local people’s congress election. Independent candidates are often called “self-nominated” candidates, for candidates in local elections are usually appointed by superiors or employers. According to China’s election regulations, a “self-nominated” independent candidate needs at least ten eligible nominators in order to be officially recognized.
On October 20, a verified Sina Weibo user, @New_Enlightment Xiong Wei (@新启蒙熊伟), posted a tweet stating that Cheng’s local neighborhood committee refused to let Cheng take the nomination form with her, which is a crucial step to fulfilling the candidacy requirements. Instead, the committee instructed Cheng to have all of her nominators go to the field office and sign the form at the site, which is a violation of the electoral procedure. [Xiong is an independent candidate himself and is believed to be a personal friend of Cheng. He has been actively supporting Cheng’s candidacy.]
Later that day, Cheng wrote a statement through her microblog claiming that her local neighborhood committee interfered with the self-nomination process:
@Cheng Yuting: Today is the day. I will always remember it. As of noon today, under the shameless interference of the Jiulongnan neighborhood committee, the number of my nominators decreased from 11 to 9. Thus I’m now ineligible for the election. I have sincerely looked forward to the election and have been strictly in accordance with the regulations. However, I didn’t expect that a low-level government agency can be such a scamp! I have rejected numerous interviews offered by both domestic and foreign media to avoid being accused of hyping. Nevertheless, I’m still proud of my courage. I don’t see it as a failure because I have at least tried!
Below is a picture of Cheng’s nomination form posted on her microblog with her statement: