David Wertime

Images From Weibo: Wukan's Historic Election

On February 1, Wukan held its village elections. Wukan exploded in an uprising late last year after village representative Xue Jinbo’s death in police custody. The new elections held following the uprising have caught the eye of China’s blogosphere because, as The Telegraph reports, “villagers believe [it] is China’s first wholly transparent, completely open, democratic election.” Tea Leaf Nation is proud to bring you some of the best images of the election from Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter.

@巴里时评: 33 years ago, in Xiaogang village, 18 villagers put their red fingerprints on an agreement that brought the curtain back on China’s reform and opening. Will Wukan’s election have the same meaning?












@赵鹏自媒体: Elementary school students have also been mobilized, under the village’s leadership they will count the ballots.









@新启蒙熊伟: Wukan holds an afternoon meeting to train its election workers.









@新启蒙熊伟: In Wukan, an old grandmother gets her voter certification, a new thing for her. The ballot is a bridge leading to grassroots democracy and has an intimate relationship to Wukan villagers’ property rights. (@黄志 adds: An ordinary and [yet] great day! Although it’s just one little village, this counts as the first real self-election in the last 62 years–[villagers] can really vote however they feel!)









赵鹏自媒体: An election! Preparations for Wukan’s election is nervously underway. Elementary school students have also been mobilized, under the village’s leadership they will count the ballots, [while] university students coming back to celebrate the Lunar New Year held a meeting at 4 o’clock in the main village courtyard. Lin Zuluan will mobilize this large group of university students to volunteer to serve as election workers. Wukan is one big piece of busy-ness. In the face of pressure, under Lin Zuluan’s leadership, they nervously prepare for the election work.









新启蒙熊伟: Mr. Lin Zuluan at the afternoon meeting to train election workers, encouraging people to definitely get this election [prepared] well. Mr. Lin Zuluan has become the spiritual leader of Wukan village, and his prestige within the village is already very high.









@新启蒙熊伟: Armored police guard the election venue, checking identification or voter registration.









@新启蒙熊伟: The election venue has a pick-up car for people with special needs.









@新启蒙熊伟: Wukan villagers set up a new election venue on their own. These are secret ballot boxes.












@新启蒙熊伟: These last few days, Lin Zuluan’s daughter is the most hard-working of the volunteers; every day when I went I saw her working. There were times at 11 o’ clock at night when I would see her still working. She is still a student.









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David Wertime

David is the co-founder and co-editor of Tea Leaf Nation. He first encountered China as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2001 and has lived and worked in Fuling, Chongqing, Beijing, and Hong Kong. He is a ChinaFile fellow at the Asia Society and an associate fellow at the Truman National Security Project.