<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"> <HTML><HEAD> <META http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=unicode"> <META content="MSHTML 6.00.6000.16640" name=GENERATOR></HEAD> <BODY> <H2 class=ec-blog-fly-title>Chinese democracy</H2> <H1 class=ec-blog-headline>Victory in miniature </H1> <P class=ec-blog-info>Mar 22nd 2011, 13:31 by J.M. | ZHAIQIAO VILLAGE </P> <DIV class=share_inline_header> <UL class=clearfix> <LI class="share-inline-header-twitter first"><A class=twitter-share-button href="http://twitter.com/share" data-via="theeconomist" data-count="horizontal">Tweet</A> <LI class="share-inline-header-facebook even last"><IFRAME style="BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; BORDER-TOP: medium none; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; WIDTH: 90px; BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; HEIGHT: 21px" src="http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2011/03/chinese_democracy&amp;layout=button_count&amp;show_faces=true&amp;width=450&amp;action=like&amp;font=verdana&amp;colorscheme=light&amp;height=21" frameBorder=0 scrolling=no allowTransparency></IFRAME></LI></UL></DIV> <DIV class=ec-blog-body> <P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-GB><IMG class=imagecache-original-size alt="" src="ctsQian%20Yunhui%27s%20father.jpg">AMID one of China s most sweeping crackdowns on dissent in years, the village of Zhaiqiao in the coastal province of Zhejiang has put on an unusual display of people power. A rubbish-strewn, muddled assortment of houses near a huge power station on the shoreline, Zhaiqiao tends not to attract attention. But it <A href="http://www.economist.com/node/17859968">shot to fame in December</A> when the village chief, Qian Yunhui, was run over by a truck. Allegations swept the internet that Mr Qian had been killed deliberately because of his long-running efforts to secure better compensation for land ceded by the village to the power plant. (His father, Qian Shunnan, pictured on the right, holds a statement attesting to his son's death.)</SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-GB>The government insisted his death was an accident. The unlicensed driver was <A href="http://www.china.org.cn/china/2011-02/01/content_21860932.htm">sentenced last month to three-and-a-half years in prison</A>. Now the villagers have used the ballot box to show their rejection of the official explanation. </SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-GB>Many commentators have described the story of Qian Yunhui as <A href="http://www.china.org.cn/china/2011-01/27/content_21828963.htm">an example of the breakdown in trust</A> between officialdom and ordinary citizens. The government has tried to stifle coverage, after an initial flurry of reporting in the Chinese press that was sympathetic to the villagers. State-owned newspapers have been ordered to downplay the story. Some of Mr Qian s close family believe they are being watched. Two of them agreed to be interviewed by <EM>The Economist</EM>, but only after being driven to an inconspicuous spot outside the village. </SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-GB>Chinese citizens rarely get a chance to seek revenge by vote. But since the 1990s villages have at least had the nominal power to elect their own heads (real power is often still held by unelected Communist Party secretaries). On March 9th Zhaiqiao village conducted its first polls in six years. It was a sensitive time to do it. The annual ten-day session of China s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People s Congress (NPC), was under way in Beijing. As ever, when the NPC is in session local officials are under strict orders to avoid any disturbance that might distract attention from the meetings in the capital. Central and local governments were especially tense during this year s session because of <A href="http://www.economist.com/node/18291529">anonymous internet-circulated calls</A> for Arab-style pro-democracy protests in China. </SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-GB>Zhaiqiao has had a chequered history with elections. The late Mr Qian won the last ballot in 2005 on a tide of support for his campaign to secure better compensation for the land occupied by the power plant. Its generators supply nearly half the energy needs of nearby Wenzhou, the province s entrepreneurial hub, <A href="http://www.cb.com.cn/1634427/20110108/179205.html">according to the <EM>China Business Journal</EM></A> (in Chinese). But Mr Qian already had a suspended one-and-a-half-year prison term hanging over him for alleged rabble-rousing. In April 2006 the authorities decided to make him serve eight months in jail. </SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-GB>By the time the next elections were due in 2008, Mr Qian was back in prison, this time because of an illegal land transaction. According to a state-owned newspaper, <EM><A href="http://www.21cbh.com/HTML/2010-12-29/5NMDAwMDIxMzM5Ng.html">21st Century Business Herald</A></EM> (in Chinese), Mr Qian had impoverished himself with all his petitioning and, with villagers approval, had sold a plot of land. Villagers refused to have fresh elections because they still regarded Mr Qian as the legitimate chief (the term of office normally runs three years). But the government no longer recognised him as such, and turned to the party secretary as the sole authority.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-GB>In early 2010 another attempt was made at electing a chief. Villagers were furious. Their hero was getting close to the end of his jail time and they suspected the government wanted to hold the elections quickly in order to make sure that Mr Qian was not out in time to stand. (Elections did not have to be held until this year.) Threatened with a boycott, the government backed down. After his release in July, Mr Qian continued to petition the authorities about the power plant, identifying himself as  village chief by popular will and using an official village stamp. His funeral on January 1st, a week after he was crushed to death on Zhaiqiao s main road, prompted clashes between hundreds of police and villagers. There were rumours that one reason local officials might have wanted him dead was to keep from being elected again.<SPAN>&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-GB>The government must have been very worried that trouble would break out during the polls on March 9th. Their instinct, as it has been on several occasions since the power-plant struggle began, would have been to send in large numbers of police to maintain order. But villagers warned that they would boycott the vote, if it did. The government again backed down (though villagers claim to have seen several plainclothes officers). The result of the election, declared at 3am the following day to a cheering crowd was a victory for Qian Yunmeng, who won 1,788 votes against 972 for his rival. Mr Qian is a close cousin of the deceased. In the clannish politics of Chinese villages, his victory was a clear stamp of popular support for his late relative. </SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-GB>News of the election circulated on Chinese blogs and microblogs (eg, see <A href="http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_62ed9eaf0100qwrl.html">here</A> and <A href="http://bbs.gd563.com/thread-17003-1-1.html">here</A>). But China s official media largely ignored the news. <EM>Legal Daily</EM>, a Beijing newspaper controlled by the ministry of justice, was an unusual exception. On March 11th it published <A href="http://www.legaldaily.com.cn/index/content/2011-03/11/content_2509819.htm?node=20908">a detailed account</A> (in Chinese), though it avoided any analysis of the government s reaction to the outcome. The villagers of Zhaiqiao however have no doubt that the authorities are very unhappy.</SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-GB>(Picture credit: Zhou Yu)</SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-GB></SPAN>&nbsp;</P><SPAN lang=EN-GB> <DIV class=clearfix id=columns> <DIV class="grid-10 grid-first clearfix" id=column-content> <DIV class=node-blog-tpl> <DIV class=comments-area> <DIV id=comments-wrapper> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline>Tai Chi wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 22nd 2011 6:07 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>"The villagers of Zhaiqiao however have no doubt that the authorities are very unhappy."</P> <P>Maybe not. They may increasingly recognize that democracy here and there may make make people easier to control. What would make them really unhappy is a repeat of the massive riot in 2008 in a county of Guizhou. Corrupt officials covered up the rape and murder of a girl by the son of an official. Tens of thousands of people rioted after officials resorted dealt with the early protests with truncheons. The incident is an extreme example of the common "mass incident." If local elections can reduce those kinds of outbursts then I bet the Party is willing to allow more voting. After all, there was no rioting in this episode of continuous official corruption and possible murder. </P> <P>-Tai Chi<BR><A title=http://chinaoverindia.blogspot.com href="http://chinaoverindia.blogspot.com/" rel=nofollow>http://chinaoverindia.blogspot.com</A> A China-India blog</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-866881><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/866881?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=3b5a828fc2652a7d4be95b323e98ef40&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (53)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-866881><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/866881#comment-866881" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-866881><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/866881?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=19e5f28d604dc6f69a7612f354cf9327&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-866942></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/Will%2540Moor/comments">Will@Moor</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 22nd 2011 7:02 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>For those who are interested by Chinese issues, it would be annoying to find out that every link is followed by (in Chinese), and then not that easy to read.</P> <P>How a civilization gives birth to democracy is a painful and long process, we only need to review the history in the West and we would expect the pain in China too. Let's all wish that the people won't pay too expensive for that, as we have already paid much in China by revolutions.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-866942><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/866942?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=25f0f6dbf71d4e58aa30ea4a51888a81&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (62)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-866942><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/866942#comment-866942" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-866942><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/866942?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=54cdbcb2b2bed828e0ce5c2042d7b786&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-867168></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/UVW/comments">UVW</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 22nd 2011 10:52 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>Ruling and ruled. The essence has always the same since Slavery. </P> <P>Western self-righterious democracies are nothing but merely more enlightened landlords, or slave owners for that matter. The Ruled are merely livestocks to the Ruling as in everywhere else, despite differences in culture or geograhy or race. </P> <P>It is all a show.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-867168><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/867168?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=8ad91b082643072068befbb8f2c892a8&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (50)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-867168><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/867168#comment-867168" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-867168><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/867168?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=e1be1007ef691eafe084af5281f4e624&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-867246></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/skatkins/comments">skatkins</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 12:44 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>More people have read this article than have listened to this album (Chinese Democracy). Damn you Axel Rose... Damn you.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-867246><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/867246?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=c6dfef9661f8ff0a962c93656035cb1d&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (45)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-867246><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/867246#comment-867246" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-867246><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/867246?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=2249121f5bec6cfea728bfb1a0aa323d&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-867288></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/Houshu/comments">Houshu</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 2:07 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>It has nothing to do with democracy. Mr. Qian and many others are China's Daniel Shay, lawless rural hooligans.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-867288><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/867288?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=62e5147b699b2e316788a33edcb816ef&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (39)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-867288><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/867288#comment-867288" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-867288><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/867288?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=329c828cc50804bbcd424a441ed3b578&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-867322></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/Neoshadow/comments">Neoshadow</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 3:22 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>Many wumao may come here to wage for their Communist host.They would say "you hurt Chinese people's feeliings".</P> <P>As an ordinary Chinese,I agree that CPC hurt my feelings every day for their behaviors in every minute.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-867322><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/867322?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=f6248da069376cff71ce86c6ab43fbf0&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (52)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-867322><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/867322#comment-867322" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-867322><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/867322?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=201af1bed41a972374d2c2913ab343a9&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-867327></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/Jeremy%2BWong%2BFischer/comments">Jeremy Wong Fischer</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 3:36 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>The problem with governance in China is that it has a fairly sophisticated central government with good overarching policies but also local bureaucracies characterized by disregard of the same policies, clan warfare, endemic corruption, and an entrenched and corrosive system of political patronage. </P> <P>In this case we must distinguish public grievances with local *bureaucrats* (based on facts) from protest of the current political *system* (implied by the Economist's own speculative reading of the situation). In this dispute many factors, including those listed above, play a role, but you will have a hard time convincing me that this whole thing was a coordinated vote "against the authorities". The Economist is irresponsible in not defining who these "authorities" are - are they from the Township, the County, the Province, or the Central Government? Did Beijing order the former chief to be crushed by a truck, or did a clan rival? Because that would make for two totally different stories.</P> <P>I know much of my commentary takes direct aim at the Economist's reporting style seemingly in defense of "the Chinese regime", but I want to offer the caveat that I am most certainly not a fan of the Chinese government's strict control on the press, including the censorship of its very own Premier. The hardliners within the Communist Party has won continued victories as of late, and my guess is that Hu Jintao is resolutely on their side. The Economist rightly points out that the hardliner policy shuts out some very legitimate discussions about social grievances in parts of rural China, like in the village mentioned int his article. These discussions must be had, and they must be democratic, and they will not have the destabilizing effects that many in the upper echelons of power fear. In my view they are way too paranoid.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-867327><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/867327?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=435e10ea46084945e88ec00577d75da8&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (67)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-867327><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/867327#comment-867327" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-867327><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/867327?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=dee01ee2dbdb53241077dc93e4bddc6e&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-867356></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/Weitogo/comments">Weitogo</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 4:18 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>@ Houshu, </P> <P>How so? I desperately need someone to direct me to concrete evidence which contradicts what TE has claimed on this case because I generally do not buy TE's preaching on democracy in China either. </P> <P>Or, are you just making unfound claims based on prejudice against uneducated peasants? Chinese peasants maybe uneducated, rude even violent sometimes. But when it comes to defending their legitimate interests, I hope they keep vigilant and keep pressure on the government so that the whole system can change for the better. Democracy or not, the betterment of people's lives calls for a more rational and accountable system with much less corruption and hostility towards its own citizens. </P> <P>Meanwhile, I still firmly reject the unquestioned superiority and universality of western cultural and political system, which lead many to believe whenever problems arise in the developing world, solutions must be found in the west, in other words, whatever the west has been doing must be good for all the rest too. That is of course very self centred and intellect deprived way of thinking.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-867356><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/867356?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=8f5a7bd7d3c4ff3a270eb5b14152bb4c&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (43)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-867356><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/867356#comment-867356" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-867356><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/867356?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=b051d5734df1be0e7ada9ba485bc92a9&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-867534></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/tonyinchina/comments">tonyinchina</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 11:36 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>I hope I'm not watching a CIA spy movie.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-867534><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/867534?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=7fdd09b121535c508226f3363c44b1fc&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (36)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-867534><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/867534#comment-867534" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-867534><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/867534?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=d4a094cf3a1269a47bada400d02f607d&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-867755></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/country%2Broad/comments">country road</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 4:04 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>the title"Chinese democracy Victory in miniature " is exaggerated.No democracy in China,no victory in miniature.Votes or election means nothing in China,even in so-called democratic states,such as US or France.</P> <P>BTY,Maybe, the picture is fake,the written Chinese"V gNbL*gQ" in paper hold by old man, is a meaningless sentence,even read by Chinese.I guess it is written by a foreigner or by Photoshop software.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-867755><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/867755?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=b3deefd182e1d36ca2a7c246dab09153&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (42)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-867755><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/867755#comment-867755" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-867755><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/867755?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=db0b026c714ef1363678fab524b7d5cc&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-867874></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/Daveycool/comments">Daveycool</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 6:20 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>"All politics is local" -- Tip O'Neill</P> <P>What if this is all that's needed? Local elections can probably make officials more responsive and less corrupt. The Central government sets goals and makes long term plans, including making tough economic and social decisions and manage national defence. Local governments, become responsive and considerate of local concerns while trying to achieve the goals set by the Central Government.</P> <P>Yes, there will be people pointing out the structural problem of elected local officials having more legitimacy than Central Government folks. What if promotion to the Central Government is kept the same (which seems to be a mix of patronage and merit) from a pool of accomplished and proven local officials, thus keeping some form of legitimacy while still emphasizing merit and continuity?</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-867874><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/867874?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=7a1142f80dd3168cc578b021cdd604f0&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (37)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-867874><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/867874#comment-867874" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-867874><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/867874?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=3bf2c474b2978c27fe5e84c8ff989701&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-867969></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/new%2Bstudent%2B2009/comments">new student 2009</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 8:05 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>That the Economist is being reduced to such dirt digging nit picking rubbish journalism is saddest of them all.</P> <P>Yet this is exactly the kind of junk articles craved by bashers to mount their attacks for kicks on the commentary sections no matter what.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-867969><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/867969?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=f7ebe226866fcff44ac6bd890c37fdaf&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (36)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-867969><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/867969#comment-867969" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-867969><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/867969?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=2eac87c33ffb9aea520f942b32efe938&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-867986></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/Daveycool/comments">Daveycool</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 8:20 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>The point is democracy not only allows different views to be heard but also requires those whose views are rejected (in other words, the losers, yes, there will be losers in a democracy) to accept the decision of the majority. </P> <P>Can people accept such a proposition or will they still take to the street to get what they want? It seems, even in the West, America, specifically, newly elected politicians are interested in repealing laws (some even run on those aims), filibustering, and also employ just about every dirty trick to get what they want. It seems sometimes people cannot defend their views in a rational and persuasive way so they remind people that dirty tricks aren't dirty tricks, they are just a part of free speech too. In principle, they are right... oh well...</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-867986><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/867986?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=5bfa062c7f27c984281b4482445e44a7&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (38)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-867986><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/867986#comment-867986" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-867986><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/867986?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=cb466dca4fe07b7b2e77222e4b464637&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-867999></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/PL123/comments">PL123</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 8:38 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>Houshu wrote: Mar 23rd 2011 2:07 GMT .It has nothing to do with democracy. Mr. Qian and many others are China's Daniel Shay, lawless rural hooligans.<BR>----------------------------------------------</P> <P>@ Houshu</P> <P>I believed such case is only Tip of the iceberg Qq\N҉. So many corrupted local or regional officials in China are the cause of the social problem. The compensation money went to their own pocket instead of peasant..</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-867999><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/867999?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=4c61fb8e20369ed3a465f752c70d6b03&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (32)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-867999><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/867999#comment-867999" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-867999><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/867999?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=d944eb6ddddcdba789fe5f6b6e288add&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-868009></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/PL123/comments">PL123</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 8:56 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>I don't see the picture was being photoshopping. The correct words should be like V gNfL*gQ. translated in english: The accident proof (this letter) was not written that the car was driven backwards. 1uel gQ NNfTTLv</P> <P>In a normal accident a person was killed by fast driving but always forwards. This case was backwards, perhaps forwards and backwards few times to kill. That was the arguement in the net too. And that's why people did not trust the so-called investigation.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-868009><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/868009?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=e57df2379585a9bcab26b3fcdcf74791&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (38)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-868009><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/868009#comment-868009" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-868009><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/868009?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=f45b685e88c891d5454d28a78134b058&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-868019></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/PL123/comments">PL123</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 9:07 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>@ Daveycool</P> <P>It seems you are not too cool this time. Have you a coffee yet?</P> <P>@ weitogo</P> <P>"Or, are you just making unfound claims based on prejudice against uneducated peasants? Chinese peasants maybe uneducated, rude even violent sometimes. But when it comes to defending their legitimate interests, I hope they keep vigilant and keep pressure on the government so that the whole system can change for the better. Democracy or not, the betterment of people's lives calls for a more rational and accountable system with much less corruption and hostility towards its own citizens."</P> <P>Agreed!! Democracy or not, Ordinary people do need justice too.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-868019><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/868019?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=28133d69a31ddf29cc219a5945887b84&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (38)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-868019><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/868019#comment-868019" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-868019><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/868019?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=79a1588b27c85a2a62e4e6622ec57644&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-868077></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/nkab/comments">nkab</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 23rd 2011 10:21 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>The story as depicted here is unlikely to be entirely true from what I know.</P> <P>But even if it was partially true, or even if it was entirely, 100%, and iron clad true, this Economist article amounts nothing short of reporting an individual Texas campus random shooting incident investigation as a White House national scandal.</P> <P>Sir, you are way over your head.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-868077><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/868077?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=cb6cfdac02ee5b8bbcb85f1aa870224c&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (35)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-868077><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/868077#comment-868077" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-868077><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/868077?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=da51c46eb9bbe14cd5155106bf1951d1&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-868263></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/Houshu/comments">Houshu</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 24th 2011 1:06 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>@PL123,</P> <P>I don t have information other than what s reported in here. It s about a chief of local clan tries to back out a contract with a local power company in order to get more money. The chief (by the name of Marion Barry) was arrested but still got elected as village chief. After serving his sentence, he was run over by a truck that prompted conspiracy theories flourishing on the internet. But the truck driver, Mr. Oswald, is still alive in jail. Why the reporter who secretly interviewed clan chief s father didn t pay a secret visit to Mr. Oswald? It s much ado about nothing.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-868263><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/868263?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=e9eb2d9fad25339aa69c5ad6afe876a0&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (34)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-868263><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/868263#comment-868263" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-868263><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/868263?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=1fbb8cfd4d45117a901de98021bdc82e&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV><A id=comment-868272></A> <DIV class=comment> <DIV class="comment-info clearfix"> <DIV class=comment-headline><A title="View user's comments." href="http://www.economist.com/user/Houshu/comments">Houshu</A> wrote: </DIV> <DIV class=comment-date>Mar 24th 2011 1:19 GMT </DIV></DIV> <DIV class="comment-body clearfix"> <P>@weitogo,</P> <P>I got my prejudice about uneducated peasants from a short story written by Lu Hsun (1918-1926) titled  official biography of Mr. Ah-Q . I don t know if you read Chinese or know any uneducated peasants, but if you do both, you will probably hold similar prejudice as me.</P> <P>By the way, Mr. Qian got much better treatment than what Lu Hsun doled out to Ah-Q, that reveals CCP s heritage of being rural hooligans.</P></DIV> <DIV class="comment-links clearfix"> <DIV class=recommend id=recommend-cid-868272><A class=recommend href="http://www.economist.com/vote/recommend-comment/868272?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=dbfd1e5ad8f9a7ee85b0a94fa97e31e4&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Recommend</A> (33)</DIV> <DIV class=permalink id=permalink-cid-868272><A title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://www.economist.com/comment/868272#comment-868272" rel=nofollow>Permalink</A></DIV> <DIV class=report_abuse id=abuse-cid-868272><A class=report-anchor href="http://www.economist.com/vote/report_abuse/868272?page=&amp;nid=21017140&amp;token=e2dd74697c7c43dc91b3d6c5ab168b3c&amp;sort=asc" rel=nofollow>Report abuse</A></DIV></DIV></DIV></DIV></DIV></DIV></DIV><!-- /#column-right --></DIV></SPAN></DIV></BODY></HTML>