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Village Elections Grassroots democracy. Political Reforms in 1980s ``Socialist democracy and legal system” Correcting the arbitrariness of the Cultural.

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Presentation on theme: "Village Elections Grassroots democracy. Political Reforms in 1980s ``Socialist democracy and legal system” Correcting the arbitrariness of the Cultural."— Presentation transcript:

1 Village Elections Grassroots democracy

2 Political Reforms in 1980s ``Socialist democracy and legal system” Correcting the arbitrariness of the Cultural Revolution Mobilizing initiatives for economic reform and growth

3 PRC Constitution of 1982 Article 111. The residents' committees and villagers' committees established among urban and rural residents on the basis of their place of residence are mass organizations of self- governance at the grass-roots level. The chairman, vice-chairmen and members of each residents' or villagers' committee are elected by the residents.

4 National People’s Congress The ``Organic Law of Villager’s Committees (for trial implementation)” was passed in 1987 after over a year of debate A final revised version of the Organic Law was passed in 1998

5 Party Elders’ Support Peng Zhen, Chair of the 6 th NPC Standing Committee (1983 – 1987) pushed the Organic Law through NPC

6 His Argument 1: CCP Tradition In 1930s the ``new democratic government” included non-Communist personages ``Mass line” emphasized public participation Served the purpose of fighting the Japanese army

7 His Argument 2: ``Socialist democracy” For the leadership, strengthening people’s congresses For the masses, villagers’ self-governance and autonomy Help to boost democratic consciousness

8 His Argument 3: Improve cadre-mass relations –``Some rural leaders had become `local emperors’” –``villagers would sooner or later attack our rural cadres with their shoulder poles” –``Who supervises rural cadres? Can we supervise them? No, not even if we had 48 hours a day”

9 Risk of Rural Unrest ``People’s communes” were replaced with township governments in early 1980s Local cadres lost distributive power –Villagers became more knowledgeable and less dependent on cadres –Dysfunction and disintegration of local Party organizations –Incompetence and corruption of cadres

10 Implementing Village Elections National People’s Congress debate Ministry of Civic Affairs implement Opposition by local cadres Popular demands for village elections Party elders advocate

11 Opposition to Village Elections Provincial misgivings –slow in passing enforcement guidelines Lower levels worry about effects on –policy implementation –potential instability Opposition has been the most intense from township cadres

12 Township’s Opposition ``Presently villagers don’t know how to govern themselves” ``I already have difficulty leading village cadres. I guarantee that guiding them will not work” ``Elections at higher levels are all scams, why should village elections be taken any more seriously?”

13 Popular Demands Some refused to cooperate with township- appointed cadres Some confront township leaders on election issues Some sought support from higher-level officials

14 Actual Implementation Enormous local variation in implementation Some villages have conducted free and fair elections Voting irregularities are often reported Some township officials fix or sabotage village elections Some party branches controlled nomination

15 Impact of Village Elections Elections make cadres more accountable to villagers Closer cadre-villager relationship smoothes policy implementation Often elected cadres deliver on their pledges and produce material benefits for a community

16 Party Branch at Village Level Relationship between villager committee and Party branch –``Contradictions” between director of village committee and Party branch secretary –The 1998 version of the Organic Law asserts the role of the Communist Party in ``guaranteeing that villagers... directly exercise their democratic rights”

17 Township and Village Relationship between village committee and township governments –Implementation of unpopular policies, such as birth control, taxation, and fees Village leaders are responsive to both old and newly emerging constituencies –selectorates above (township government) –electorates below (villagers)

18 New Developments ``Two-ballot system” in election of Party branch members Experiments with direct election of township officials Direct elections of residents’ committees since 1999 in urban areas


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