L’insegnante Yao Lifa, che nel 1998 è diventato uno dei primi legislatori in Cina a venir eletto senza esser stato spalleggiato dal Partito Comunista, è ormai rassegnato alle convocazioni della polizia.
Segue articolo in inglese:
Making sure that China’s supreme legislative body is toothless YAO LIFA, a primary schoolteacher who in 1998 became one of the first legislators in China to be elected without the backing of the Communist Party, is wearily resigned to frequent summons by the police. As China’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), prepares for its annual session from March 5th, jittery authorities are stepping up surveillance of Mr Yao and others they fear might use the occasion to air grievances about the party’s grip.
The cautious experiment with grassroots democracy that saw Mr Yao elected to his town’s legislature in the province of Hubei was all too brief. By the next poll in 2003, Mr Yao—by then lionised as a daring independent political voice even by some official newspapers—had no chance of winning again. A handful of other independent candidates did manage to gain seats that year in county and township “people’s congresses”. But in the following elections in 2006 and 2007, the authorities did all they could to stop them winning, from gerrymandering and vote-rigging to intimidation. Mr Yao says he was detained five times last year to keep him quiet during politically sensitive occasions, including the NPC session last March.
As usual, China is preparing for the upcoming parliamentary meeting with a propaganda blitz about the session’s importance as a conduit for public opinion. Online opinion polls seek votes on the topics of most interest at the meeting. Corruption, income disparities and soaring house prices rate highly. But internal directives suggest that in recent years the party has been keeping tight control on the legislature in an effort to minimise embarrassment to the party leadership.
That the party should worry at all may seem odd. Communist Party members account for fewer than 6% of China’s people, but more than 70% of the 2,987 delegates appointed in 2008 for a five-year term to the NPC. In lower-level congresses, estimates one party researcher, the ratio is normally 60-70%, with more than half of the seats usually taken by “leading officials”. Nearly 9% of national legislators are members of the armed forces. A similar share are senior party and government officials and senior academics. Almost all delegates at every level, though nominally elected (either by lower-level congresses or by the public in the case of the lowest tiers), are in fact selected by the party. Voting is almost always a formality.
But the party does not leave it at that. It gives its hand-picked representatives a bit of leeway to moan about house prices, or even corruption. But it goes to extra lengths to make sure that important laws or leadership appointments are passed with a minimum of dissent. The national legislature is made up of 35 delegations. Two represent Hong Kong and Macau, where the party keeps its head down. But the rest have their own party cells whose job it is to ensure that members toe the line.
In 2008 leaders met party officials in the NPC to stress the importance of securing resounding endorsements for the party’s choices for top national posts. This included the re-election of President Hu Jintao and the prime minister, Wen Jiabao. Apparently to prevent critical comments from leaking to the press, the internal bulletins circulated among the delegations to keep them informed of each others’ discussions were banned from mentioning what delegates said about official appointments. Such comments were to be relayed directly to the party leadership. Until the voting, even the names of the officials up for election were to be kept secret. Since 2007 each delegation has had to name a secrecy officer to enforce such rules. That year foreign journalists were barred from any meeting taking place next to a room being visited by a senior leader. The party did not want leaders buttonholed.
Displays of discontent outside the Great Hall of the People where the NPC convenes are another cause for concern. The NPC received 227,000 petitions by aggrieved citizens in 2006, up from 100,000 in 2004. This prompted officials to order more strenuous efforts to keep petitioners from flocking to Beijing, and certainly well away from the meetings. Activists such as Mr Yao are targets. He says he was detained by police for more than an hour this month when he tried to visit the American embassy in Beijing. His travails as a would-be legislator, the authorities clearly believe, are an internal affair, not for foreign ears.
Fonte: Dossier Tibet, 1 marzo 2010