The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) stated it has reached a “full-process people’s democracy,” but independent candidates alleged it was a plain lie.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping on December 8th said the CCP always “respects and protects human rights” ahead of the Democracy Summit hosted by the U.S. Multiple CCP officials later chanted similar rhetoric of an inclusive government. 

However, Tang Jingzhou from Chongqing city lived through a different treatment when she started her political campaign. Tang was not appointed by the CCP. She said that the authorities have done many things to hold her back.

Tang received neither help nor promotion, other than a simple public notice during her campaign.

She told Chinese-language media Da Ji Yuan, “the local government called the people who recommended me [to run for office] and forced them to withdraw their nomination, especially [forcing] people working in state agencies and those who they think will be affected by pressure from the employer. They used the excuse that [because] my personality was not good [so I couldn’t stand for election].”

Within two days, she was disqualified as the number of referrals fell to 8 nominations. A minimum of ten referrals are required for candidacy.

“It’s their strategy to disqualify you,” Tang told Da Ji Yuan.

Tang recounted when she went to vote after losing her candidacy, staffs were terrified of her showing up and would not respond to her. As she questioned the transparency of the election process, a policeman confronted her.

In Chongqing city, three other independent candidates also encountered great difficulties from the CCP during their candidacy journey.

Han Liang, also in the Yuzhong district, was locked at home while he was looking for references to run for office in late November.

The CCP disqualified Xiao Zhen of Liangjiang New Area district through a political assessment.

Wang Chengkang of Danba district was the only independent candidate who remained. She faced no lesser obstacles. Wang told Da Ji Yuan that “Wherever we go, there are always security cameras aimed at us. As soon as I say something, someone will quickly contact me to ‘talk’.”

Tang’s experience was not a rare occasion in China. In 2016, BBC tried to make an interview with independent candidate Liu Huizhen but they were blocked by a group of unidentified men. While Liu was locked inside her house, the men harassed and pulled BBC’s reporter away from Liu’s house.

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