Residents flock to the headquarters of the villagers' committee in Xiaogang village, Anhui province, on Dec 25, and prepare to vote for deputies to the local congress.Photos By Zhu Lixin / China Daily
Rural polls help to spread political representation at the local level.
Yang Yubing and four other candidates for election to the local county and township's people's congresses in Xiaogang village, Fengyang county, Anhui province, sat at the front of a meeting room, preparing to deliver their speeches and answer questions from residents, who sat opposite the candidates and an invigilator.
The meeting was held on Dec 24 in the village in the eastern province, the day before the election for deputies.
To the right of Yang was Yin Yurong, a local woman who owns a hog farm. She seemed quite nervous and paused twice during her speech, which consisted of just a couple of sentences.
Two of the three candidates standing for the county congress would be elected as deputies, while three of four candidates would be elected to the township congress in Xiaoxihe, with which Xiaogang is affiliated.
While the other candidates were nominated by the township's Party committee, Yang was nominated by 10 voters. Each candidate's speech was limited to five minutes and they were not allowed to comment on their rivals.
"If I am elected as a deputy to the township congress, I will strive to win more support from the government for our agricultural sector," Yang said.
"I will help to train more villagers to breed hogs," said the 37-year-old Yin, who makes annual net income of more than 300,000 yuan ($43,500) from her business.
Although the speeches were short, the meeting was lengthy as the villagers fired question after question at the candidates.
Birthplace of reform
Xiaogang holds a special place in the history of Chinese agriculture. The village is famous as the birthplace of rural reform, which was a milestone in the country's overall reform and opening-up policy.
In December 1978, after the collectivized farming policy had been in force nationwide for about 20 years, 18 farmers in Xiaogang secretly signed an agreement to subdivide their common farmland into family plots in the hope of increasing crop yields.