Village polls clean-up ordered
The State Council has issued a circular ordering improvements in the procedures for village committee elections and their implementation.
The circular, released by Xinhua yesterday, said the government wanted to address irregularities in some village elections.
'In some individual cases, mass incidents erupted and affected social stability in the countryside,' the circular said, referring to protests and riots in some provinces where villagers complained elections were rigged and, in some cases, run by gangsters.
The circular ordered local governments to step up propaganda campaigns to educate officials and the public about the correct procedures for village elections.
It also urged officials to mobilise public support for new village chiefs and help the losers accept the results.
More effort should also be given to handling petitions and complaints from villagers during and after elections.
The circular also ordered county and township governments - which oversee village elections - to identify villages with conflicts and send officials to soothe tensions and ensure elections went smoothly.
Beijing has introduced direct elections in almost all villages. But it is still reluctant to give the green light to the much-awaited direct elections at the township level.