Posted by: rbbadger | March 6, 2009

A brave man

The National People’s Congress, China’s main legislative body, is currently meeting in Beijing.  The members of the NPC are elected by the members of the provincial legislatures.  They in turn are elected by the local people’s congresses in the cities which are elected by the people along with the villages which enjoy the rights to elect their own local legislators.  Beijing has been very cautiously experimenting with democracy.  Hong Kong and Macau also elect representatives to the NPC.  But true to form, these are not directly elected by the people in the two Special Administrative Regions.  Rather, they are elected by their Legislative Councils, half of which are currently directly elected and the other half of which are elected by electoral colleges appointed by the local governments.

As is customary, the state authorities have been trying to clear out any pro-democracy activists that may be around during the time that the National People’s Congress and the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party are in session.  Bao Tong, once a very high-ranking official in the Communist Party and the Central People’s Government, made his own proposals for the NPC and CCCPC sessions which you can read here.  He worked with Zhao Zhiyang, once premier of the People’s Republic of China and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.  Bao was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the main policy-making committee of both the government and the party.  Zhao opposed bringing in the army to quell the 1989 Tianmen protests.  He spent the rest of his life under house arrest.  Bao spent seven years in prison and is under constant surveilance from the state.  He remains an outspoken voice for democracy, but he has paid a very heavy price for it.

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