China's New Independents Tap Social Media to Challenge Communist Party

By Ford, Peter | The Christian Science Monitor, June 8, 2011 | Go to article overview

China's New Independents Tap Social Media to Challenge Communist Party


Ford, Peter, The Christian Science Monitor


About 80 independent candidates for local Peoples' Congresses are using the power of social media in China to challenge the Communist party's lock on political office.

As local government elections get underway nationwide in China, a new breed of independent would-be politician is emerging to challenge the ruling Communist party's near total stranglehold on political power.

Harnessing the mobilizing power of social networking websites for the first time and attracting unprecedented attention to themselves, these candidates for local Peoples' Congresses are posing a dilemma for the government.

"There appears to be some uncertainty and debate at the upper echelons [of government] about how to deal with this," says Russell Leigh Moses, author of an upcoming book on the changing nature of power in China.

Some of those putting themselves forward as candidates, such as popular blogger Li Chengpeng, seem likely to be thorns in the authorities' side. "You will never know the benefit of standing up if you always stay on your knees," Mr. Li declared in a combative campaign statement he sent out to his 2 million followers on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblog.

Others seem to be simply asking for a chance to participate in a system that has almost always excluded citizens who are not members of the Communist party. "I want public opinion to be translated into public policy," says Xu Yan, a young advertising executive in the eastern city of Hangzhou, explaining why he is hoping to be a candidate in his local elections later this year.

Denied ballot space

The initial signals have not augured well for the more outspoken independents. Liu Ping, a woman living in the eastern province of Jiangxi who had made a name for herself by bringing her grievances with the local government to the central government's attention, was denied a place on the ballot in her local elections last month, and detained by the police during the election period.

"But I don't think the government can constantly put itself on high alert and stop independents from running by branding them enemies of the state," says Liu Yawei, director of the Carter Center's China program in Atlanta. Government interference, he warns, will lead to "challenges, and maybe a storm brewing."

The local elections, which began last month, will continue until December next year. The bodies to be chosen are on the lowest level of China's governance system, dealing mainly with nuts and bolts issues such as garbage collection and local business regulation, but they offer the only real chance that Chinese citizens outside the Communist party have to play a role in public life.

The cost of standing for election

Independents have stood in such elections before, but rarely with much success. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

China's New Independents Tap Social Media to Challenge Communist Party
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.