Thursday, March 7, 2013

Global Times Says People's Representatives Democratically Elected, Baidu Bans Forums on "The People," "Representatives," "Democracy," "Elections"

On March 4, 2013, the state-sponsored Global Times published an English language article entitled "Shanxi NPC Deputy, 84, Under Fire for Record Re-Election." Some excerpts:
Shanxi authorities have defended the reelection of a veteran deputy to the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in response to public accusations that the 84-year-old's record return to the top legislature was symbolic. 
Shen Jilan, a villager from Pingshun county and NPC deputy since 1954, has long been recognized as a national model worker. She is the only representative to be consecutively elected as an NPC deputy 12 times. However, Shen's role as a deputy was questioned last year when she admitted she had never opposed a proposal during the NPC sessions. 
Hu Suping, director of the publicity department of the Shanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said on Saturday that Shen was widely supported and re-elected by local villagers, stressing that she represents a voice for the grass-roots majority.
On March 5, the Global Times published a Chinese language editorial by He Hui (何辉)  entitled "Attacking Shen Jilan Serves No Constructive Purpose in Building a Political Culture" (攻击申纪兰无益政治文化建设). Some excerpts:
What I mean to say is, if these people's representatives are in fact not elected based on people's true wishes, then we should be asking, what power is causing representatives to be selected that the people do not want selected. According to the Measures on the Election of People's Representatives, the people's representatives for counties, cities, townships, ethnic villages, and counties are chosen by direct elections. That is to say, the representatives in China's National People's Congress have to be coming from the direct elections at the basic level. 
Every vote is in the hands of the people. Why is it that the people are not satisfied with their chosen representatives? This indicates that there are some factors interfering with voting. What are these factors? It could be the influence of power, the lure of money, or perhaps it is a general indifference. But it must be said that, regardless of the reasons, if there is a problem with elections, it is either because some people do not cherish the vote in their hands, or because they are unable to cast their votes in accordance with their own rational will. 
These screenshots were taken on March 6, and show that Baidu bans users from establishing PostBar (贴吧) forums under the following headings:
  • Two Sessions (两会)
  • People's Congress Representative (人大代表)
  • The People (人民)
  • General Elections (普选)
  • Elections (选举)
  • Democracy (民主)
In each case, Baidu tells users "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this forum cannot be opened at this time." (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放。)