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Residential Groups to Be Elected

Shenzhen will finish reshuffling its 612 neighborhood committees by the end of June.
The three ways new neighborhood committees will be appointed are by direct election, election by household representatives or election by resident representatives.
A decree issued by the city government stipulates that a community with less than 1,000 families would be encouraged to adopt direct elections and former rural communities are also required to use direct elections.
Last year, Shenzhen transformed its rural villages into urban communities and became the first city in China to do so.
The decree stipulates that, by 2010, at least 70 percent of Shenzhen's neighborhood committees will be directly elected.
 A neighborhood committee is defined as an autonomous group representing people living together in a community.
According to national law, a neighborhood committee's responsibilities include mediating disputes, helping maintain public order and relaying to the government, requests and suggestions from residents.
The law also stipulates that a neighborhood committee can conduct community services.
But, like other cities, Shenzhen this year will create a community administration center to take over the original tasks of a neighborhood committee to run community services, mostly with government finance.
For the first time, the decree stipulates specifications for community service facilities. For instance, a neighborhood police station must be no smaller than 50 square meters, a neighborhood health service center must be at least 400 square meters, and an elderly people's recreation facility must be no less than 200 square meters.

(Shenzhen Daily March 2, 2005)


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