On February 27, People’s Daily posted a long list containing 2,987 names on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter. These names are completely unknown to the average Chinese person, yet these are the supposed elected representatives of China’s 1.3 billion people. They will attend the National People’s Congress (NPC), an event of considerable pomp that will be held in Beijing in early March.
In a post accompanying the list, People’s Daily wrote, “In the next five years, they will represent us, and be subject to our oversight.”
China’s Internet users immediately rejected the Daily’s suggestion that those on the list are anything more than rubber stamps. Most commentators to the post asked “Who are they? How did they come out of nowhere to represent me?”
“I have never voted for anyone to represent me. I have never even seen what a ballot looks like. How could I elect anyone?” one social media user fumed. Another quipped, “Hello representatives. Congratulations on being selected into the club of power. All the best to you. I wonder how many of you will be unseated soon by scandals?” @非哲 tweeted, “I refuse to be represented. In this information age, I speak for myself.”
The list contains at least one familiar name, that of Shen Jilan, whom Tea Leaf Nation profiled last year as “the longest serving rubberstamp” in the NPC, who has held her seat since the days of the Great Leap Forward.
The list also includes 13 representatives from Taiwan, which draw some curiosity from China’s Internet users. In fact, none of the supposed representatives of Taiwan’s 23 million people was born in Taiwan except the wife of former World Bank chief economist Justin Yifu Lin, who defected from Taiwan to the People’s Republic.