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A First-Hand Account of the Wukan Elections

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Abstract From September 2011, in the village of Wukan, Lufeng City, Guangdong, large-scale villagers’ demonstrations broke out as a result of problems related to land and village affairs. The demonstrations attracted attention both within and outside of China. The Guangdong Provincial Government was later to become directly involved, and worked to support the villagers of Wukan in hosting a new round of elections for their Village Committee. With the guidance of experts, systemic innovations were made, for example, the use of ‘combined self-nomination and nomination by others’ to elect the Villagers’ Election Committee; the use of a ‘one person, one vote’ system to elect villagers’ representatives, and so on. These innovations also gained attention both in China and abroad. The greatest failure of the Wukan elections was that the attempt to introduce innovations to put in place a ‘convener’ for the villagers’ meetings was unsuccessful. The failure to establish an independent system for convening villagers’ meetings and villagers’ representatives meetings has led to the difficult situation within which Wukan finds itself today.


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