In the midst of a broader article, Tom Lasseter has the story of one of the independent candidates whose campaign was destroyed over the last few months:
Lu Weixing decided this year to run as an independent candidate for a local council position in Beijing.
Lost for the right words to describe what came next, he stuck his hand into his pocket and fished out a white and orange Vitamin C tube. He tilted it forward until a single tooth rolled out.
“They beat me and then I lost a tooth,” Lu said recently.
Voting for the largely powerless councils happened Tuesday. Lu’s name was not on the ballot.
His quirky and unsanctioned campaign in west Beijing included wearing a cap with a long queue braid reminiscent of the Qing Dynasty. It was a reminder that although 100 years have passed since the Qing fell, China’s central government is still ruled by non-elected officials.
Lu said that one afternoon in September, a group of plainclothes security officers told him to cut it out. When he refused, Lu said, the men dragged him into a grove of trees and kicked him in the face. Uniformed police were called to the scene, he said, and they broke up the melee. Still, the damage was done.
During lunch the next day, Lu said, he felt his tooth loosening, and when he gave a little tug, it popped out.
Lu said the local election office had refused to give him the form needed to collect signatures to certify him as a candidate. When friends submitted one on his behalf, Lu said, it was ignored.
“By law we’re able to run as candidates,” Lu said, apparently not sure how to finish the sentence.
Another independent in the west of the capital, Han Ying, managed to be accepted as a candidate. But as elections approached she reported being hounded by both police and unidentified men. The day she was scheduled to meet with a McClatchy reporter, Han called to give her regrets.
“When I stepped outside to walk my son to school this morning, a policeman stopped me,” explained Han, who said her name was ultimately omitted from ballots.
Again, these are candidates for small-time local offices which have no real power. Think about what it means that their attempts to run necessitated so much force from Beijing.