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Xinhua Insight: Shamed Wukan seeks new leaders

English.news.cn   2014-03-31 21:48:22

LUFENG, Guangzhou, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Wu Luping, a villager from Wukan, in south China's Guangdong Province, expects to vote in a "capable village committee" this time.

"We can't believe that the second committee we elected in 2012 is also corrupt, so I think the next committee should talk less and do more. The corruption must not arise again," he said.

Residents in Wukan, a village of 13,000, cast votes on Monday for a new leadership, despite teeming rain and a torrent of corruption scandals swamping the local democratic process. The vote will elect a committee of seven: a chief, two deputies and four ordinary members.

The polling station was a village school with temporary sheds protecting the iron ballot boxes and dozens of wooden ballot booths. Voting was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and last until 3:30 p.m. It was claimed 8,160 ballots had been cast, out of an electorate of just over 9,000. The result is expected Monday night.

Wukan was thrown into the international spotlight in 2011 when residents staged three waves of rallies in four months, against what they claimed was illegal land grabs, corruption and violations of financing and election rules by village officials.

The rerun of the election, hailed as a national tryout of self-governance and promotion of the spirit of democracy and the rule of law, was held in March 2012. But that did not put an end to the turbulence.

In April 2012, several former officials from the village were expelled from the Communist Party of China for corruption and election-rigging.

March of this year saw yet another corruption scandal. Yang Semao and Hong Ruichao, both chosen as deputy chiefs in the second ballot, were detained by police over allegations that they took bribes concerning public projects in the village.

Lin Zulian, head of the village committee, said he was extremely distressed by projects lying unfinished due to corruption.

"This village committee was elected by the villagers themselves, but already some of the committee repeated the mistakes of the previous committee, less than a year later. This requires our introspection," he said.

Over the past two years, more than 5,000 mu (330 hectares) of land illegally transferred, allotted, or left idle has been returned to the village. Governments at the provincial and city levels have earmarked tens of millions of yuan for improving the village.

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Editor: Yang Yi
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