Wukan leaders elected

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 5, 2012
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Seven members of village committee of Wukan, a village in the southern province of Guangdong, have been elected by Sunday, several months after residents staged massive protests over illegal land sales and abuse of power.

The seven included the village chief, two deputy chiefs and four other committee members, which were elected on Saturday and Sunday.

Lin Zulian, who was appointed the village's Communist Party of China (CPC) secretary after the protests, won 6,205 votes in an overwhelming victory to become the village chief in the election with a voter turnout of 81.45 percent on Saturday.

Yang Semao, who won 3,609 votes, was elected deputy chief of the committee on the same day.

On Sunday, Hong Ruichao was elected as deputy chief and the other four village committee members elected were Zhuang Liehong, Zhang Jiancheng, Sun Wenliang and Chen Suzhuan, the election committee announced on Sunday night.

The fishing village has 8,363 registered voters, and 6,185 votes were collected on Sunday, said Hong Tianbin, director of the election committee.

The results were valid as more than half of the village's registered voters cast their votes and each candidate secured no less than one-third of all the votes, said Hong.

Voting began at noon on Sunday at a village school and the vote calculation lasted until 8 p.m.

Villagers also elected seven group leaders on Sunday after an election on Feb. 11 failed to complete the task as all the candidates failed to secure half of each group's votes.

The newly-selected village chief Lin Zulian said the new committee would handle the village's public affairs with justice and transparency, subject to laws and regulations.

Major decisions would be made through public consultation and villagers' reasonable demands would also be met, said Lin.

The new committee will take over the village work within ten days.

Wang Yemin, a provincial-level official in charge of village election, said the election in Wukan was open and fair, and the whole process was exerted in accordance with national and provincial election laws.

The Voters' opinions were democratically respected.

"We never interfered with whom they would vote," said Wang.

Wang also said the election in Wukan was vital to meet the reasonable demand of villagers.

The residents of Wukan confronted the local government over illegal land grabs, financing and the violation of local election regulations last year.

The protests simmered for months before turning violent in December when a village representative died in police custody.

The protests came to an end in late December after a provincial government work team held talks with the villagers. The group acknowledged that the villagers' demands were reasonable and that "some mistakes" were made by local officials.

The Wukan incident, which turned from mass protests to democratic elections, and from confrontations to talks with authorities, showed the progress the Chinese government has made in seriously addressing people's concerns and safeguarding their interests, said lawmakers and experts who are in Beijing to attend the top legislature's annual meeting, slated for Monday.

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