Another great GT feature, this time on malfeasance in a village election in Hebei. Rigging techniques run the gamut from petulance through bribery to thuggery:
The vote was originally scheduled in early spring but postponed to November after the former chief threatened to take his own life.
Rumors spread through the village that some candidates were trying to buy votes at 200 yuan ($32) each, while dozens of villagers including Li denied they were offered this deal.
Ru Xuejun, chief of the county people's congress, said locals should trust the county government's ability to ensure the fairness of the election, but he quickly disappeared after the election was interrupted.
Some 40 minutes after the election started at 8:30 am Thursday, a Global Times reporter witnessed a group of men kicking seven groups of voters out of the room, before taking away their ballot boxes.
Ma Yongsheng, identified to have been leading the men, is one of the seven candidates running for village chief. Ma shouted at those gathered in the playground that no one should dream of voting, then promptly got in his luxury car and drove away.
The basic story is familiar. Panguanying is a prosperous suburban village near Beijing, whose economy is threatened by the decision by the nearby city government to dump a waste disposal facility on its land, with the connivance of local officials. A champion of local interests emrges to fight for the village, and interested parties do all they can to stop him.
The interesting subtext here is that it's not just a case of the Party trying to sabotage the elections, but perhaps also the elections themselves attracting various gangsters aiming to control the village. This can be a lucrative position, as Uncle House will tell you.