Monday, October 03, 2005

Taishi Village - democracy defiant in China 

You will not find a lot about Taishi Village in the 'international' INTERNET. Only a little in the international press. But the story has been all over the Chinese-Language Internet.

Taishi Village has a population of about 2000 and is in Guangdong province . The villagers are using a new law to try to force the recall of their existing Village Committee. This is real, raw, proper politics and the courage of the villagers and their dedication to peaceful protest in the face of sometimes violent official action is awesome. Read this summary of events so far and the reasons why this is important.

And never begrudge the effort of putting out a FOCUS again.

The overview from the summary:

For some time now, village-level elections have been held in certain parts
of China. These elections are treated as experiments to see how to roll
out the elections across the country, first at the village level and then at the
town level later. We are supposed to learn from experiments, but we are
not getting enough feedback about what is happening in those villages.
Taishi is that big case study.

Many things have happened over the past few weeks -- public meetings,
police beatings, a police raid to seize the village accounting ledger, mass
arrests, secret arrests, sit-in's, hunger strikes, etc. For those
sensationalistic reasons, Taishi is sitting in the middle of intense media

On the Internet, the Yannan forum in China has a special page
devoted to Taishi. People's Daily re-published an opinion piece praising the positive lessons from the election. International media have visited the village... This is
not an easy story for western media to follow because it is unfolding over a
long time-frame. But everything about Taishi from now on will be
scrutinised carefully.

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