Evolution of the vote
1978: Collapse of the village commune system prompts villages to experiment with idea of electing leaders placing their fingerprint under their preferred candidate.
1980: first elected village committee established in Guozuo village in Guangxi province.
1987: Organic law on electing village committees is passed by the National People's Congress
and trials begin in 1988.
1998: second organic law passed requiring all villages to hold elections every three years.
1998 and 2001: Buyun township in Sichuan province becomes the first to organise direct elections for township-level mayor, with 16,000 people able to take part.
1998 onwards: experiments continue at township level for election of mayors and Communist Party secretaries.
2003: elections for position of township mayor put on hold after ruling by Central Party Committee
2005: Sichuan first to call for province-wide elections for position of township party secretary.