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China Appears to Be Moving to Halt Grass-Roots Candidates

Jun 17, 2011

The Chinese authorities appear to be restricting attempts by a handful of citizens to run in local legislative elections as self-proclaimed independent candidates, stating that such candidacies are illegal and that no one can run for office without first clearing a series of procedural hurdles.

The decision, published Wednesday by the news agency Xinhua and Thursday in the People’s Daily, a Communist Party newspaper, appeared to some to reflect official concern about the Communist Party’s grip on the election process in a society whose members are increasingly linked by the Internet. Dozens of people recently had signaled on microblogs that they intended to mount their own campaigns for seats in local versions of the National People’s Congress, China’s quasi legislature.

Some candidates suggested, however, that the ruling did little to formally outlaw grass-roots campaigns by candidates who lack the party’s official blessing.

Michael Wines is New York Times contributor.

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