China to complete local lawmaker elections by year-end

China will complete a new round of elections of lawmakers at county- and township-level by the end of 2012, with the last five provincial regions currently proceeding with their elections, a statement said on Sunday.

Altogether 26 of 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on the Chinese mainland have completed their county and township lawmaker elections, held every five years, said the statement from the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, China’s top legislature.

The elections started in the first half of 2011. More than 2 million lawmakers at county- and township-level will be elected by more than 900 million electorates in more than 2,000 counties and 30,000 townships, according to the NPC.

The new round of local legislature elections has been regarded as a test after last year’s amendments to the Electoral Law, under which rural and urban citizens enjoy equal representation in legislative bodies.

The five regions that are undergoing their elections at present are Liaoning, Hunan and Yunnan provinces as well as Ningxia and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions, the statement said.

These regions have fully implemented the amended Electoral Law, employing various means to train election organizers. They are using innovative ways to inform the public of election rules, such as setting up outdoor billboards, creating chatting accounts online to answer questions and through television, radio broadcast and newspaper columns, said the statement.

Migrant workers’ rights to vote and to be elected have been ensured by improving services and loosening restrictions of residence registration, or “hukou,” it said.

The central government also allocated a special allowance for underdeveloped ethnic or remote regions to organize lawmaker elections last December, as the amended Electoral Law stipulates that election expenses should be covered by the state.

Xinhua