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Millions of Beijing residents are expected to vote today to choose their local people's representative. It's part of a once-in-five years low-level governance election. The Chinese regime says is an example of democracy in the country. But a handful of candidates not endorsed by the Chinese Communist Party say they've been left out of the ballot.
Ye Jinchun from Beijing's Xicheng District has been preparing for the election since August. But like two-dozen other independent candidates, her name was dropped from the final candidate list. The election committee that determines that list has been criticized for a lack of transparency.
[Ye Jinchun, Dropped Candidate]:
"It's not transparent. We weren't able to find out many things. There is a quota for the people's representative based on gender or occupation. The candidates determined by authorities all work in state-run or Communist Party affiliated organizations. Those who are not employed this way, like myself, are not included."
Another independent hopeful, Wu Lihong, says she was unable to even register because authorities controlled her movements in the lead up to the election.
[Wu Lihong, Dropped Candidate]:
"I was controlled between September 29 and October 24, and was unable to attend any election meetings. I was left off the initial candidate list. In restraining me, Beijing police have violated the constitution. They offered no explanation when they took me away at 2:00
in the morning. My family didn't even know about it. It's shameful what they did."
According to the Chinese constitution, anyone older than 18 years of age and without a criminal history can be a candidate in these elections. They just need the support of 10 or more people. But the reality for those who are nominated this way is risking being harassed and excluded.