10/12/2011, 00.00
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Non-Communist candidates win elections, but the government continues crackdown

Polls for District People’s Congress in the southern province of Guangdong won by Guo Huojia and Li Youzhou by a wide margin, both committed to fight against the forced requisitioning of land. But in another district, the police arrest and beat an independent candidate. And the population rebels against violence.
Guangzhou (AsiaNews / Agencies) - After years of failed attempts, this year, two independent candidates have won the district election in the southern province of Guangdong. The two are seen as a sign of hope after a long campaign in favor of free elections which saw unprecedented participation of candidates not enrolled in the Communist Party. The authorities, however, have not taken this turn of events lying down, and - in another district - arrested the independent candidate who was sure to win.

On 28 September elections were held in Nanhai District, Foshan. Guo Huojia, 59, was elected, in the village of Xintiandi, and Li Youzhou, 37, head of the village of Xiaxi. Both will sit on the District People’s Congress of the province, the richest in all of China. The first got 4,827 votes out of 8,136, the second 3,232 of 6,389. Both have long fought for the rights of the population affected by illegal requisitioning of their land.

These are the first independent candidates to win in a very particular social period. Although the Chinese Constitution allows for popular participation in the vote, in fact non-Communist candidates were not taken into account neither by the media nor the voters. But now many figures of the civil society - bloggers, journalists, lawyers, teachers - are preparing independent applications and are followed by newspapers and citizens.

According to some analysts, this victory means more interest on the part of the rural population in the world of politics, a concern which could reverse the social and economic policies of the government. But they also caution against too much enthusiasm, as they may be only sporadic cases. In fact, they fears seems well grounded, given that authorities arrested another independent candidate also in Guangdong.

Li Biyun, independent candidate for the District of Rongli, was stopped and charged with violating the election law. He is currently in hospital, probably because beaten by the guards wgho arrested him. In response to this treatment, 900 voters in the district have filed a formal protest to the Election Commission of Shunde and asked to cancel the election results because of "illegality" committed during the proceedings.

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Elections in China: Authorities cite non-existent laws to exclude "uncomfortable" candidates
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