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Legislative candidates face stricter reviews

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-20 07:43

Candidates who ran in legislative elections at the county and township levels were put under stricter qualification reviews to prevent election fraud and ensure they could effectively represent the public, according to the country's top legislature.

"All people's congresses should carry out their responsibilities required by law, and improve their working ability and quality," Zhang Dejiang, the top legislator, said on Monday.

He made the comment during a seminar on building the grassroots people's congresses, held by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the national legislature.

Since 2016, a new round of elections is being conducted at the county and township levels across the country. So far, elections have been completed in 29 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.

President Xi Jinping said the county and township elections are major political events, requiring adherence to the Party's leadership and to the spirit of democracy and the law, which will ensure that people have the right to vote and to be elected.

However, in recent years, disciplinary violations, including vote buying have occurred in some local legislative elections, such as in Hunan and Liaoning provinces, "which have alerted us", said Fu Dehui, deputy director of the Standing Committee of the Hubei Provincial People's Congress.

"We took election discipline as a priority this time and provided stricter reviews of the candidates."

For example, the grassroots people's congresses in Hubei reviewed the backgrounds, identities and working abilities of candidates, and also listened to opinions from the public, Fu said.

"These elections were subject to the strictest voting procedures," he said.

The province also tried to diversify its deputies.

"Our deputies should come from all walks of life," he said.

For example, the percentage of deputies engaged in technical work has been increased, while about 70 percent of them graduated from vocational schools or above, he said.

Fang Li, deputy director of the Standing Committee of the Jilin Provincial People's Congress, said more attention has been paid to selecting deputies with professional knowledge-in the fields of economics and law, for example-to be members of standing committees.

"The more professional they are, the more effective they will be at finding problems and fulfilling their role in supervising the government," she said.

In Shandong province, deputies at the county and township levels have also performed their supervisory role by taking advantage of third-party platforms to review government budgets and judicial affairs, according to Bo Jimin, deputy director of the Standing Committee of the provincial People's Congress.

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