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Independent candidate elected
( 2003-12-17 09:12) (China Daily by Liu Li)

Xu Zhiyong, an independent candidate for the Haidian District People's Congress in Beijing, finally won the election with the highest number of votes in his electoral ward.

Unlike other candidates who were nominated by political parties, organizations or groups, Xu, together with 22 other Beijing residents, actively promoted themselves to voters in this year's district-level congress elections, which ended yesterday.

"I will do my utmost to promote democracy through participating in congress conferences," said the 30-year-old lecturer at the Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications, his electoral ward.

Xu, well-known for his active role in guaranteeing rights of migrant workers and private entrepreneurs this year, said as a new legislator he will continue to be involved in social work. Problems in re-education through labour and old house relocation will be his focus next year.

"In October, I published a notice on the Internet declaring my decision to participate in the district-level people's congress elections in Beijing," Xu said.

On November 12 he published another article on the Internet to explain why he was campaigning to be a delegate of the Haidian District People's Congress. "As a Chinese citizen, I hope my participation will help enhance democratic awareness among intellectuals and help make elections more competitive," he said.

On November 20, eight volunteers at Xu's university organized an election group to run his campaign.

Among all the 285 possible candidates for first-round election who were nominated by 10 or more voters, Xu got the second highest number of votes.

The list of 285 possible candidates was then given to every elector in the ward for a second-round vote, with the top six candidates running on November 30.

The final negotiation convention of voters decided the four formal candidates, including Xu and the heads of the university's three biggest schools, in early December.

Formal voting at Xu's university was conducted on December 10. Xu topped the poll with 10,106 votes from the total of 12,609 ballots cast,

"We should support Xu Zhiyong as he is a young man with a strong sense of justice," said voter Jiao Aiping. "We residents long for real congress delegates that speak for us."

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