Election System

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The election system (http://www.china.org.cn/features/political/2002-03/20/content_1026325.htm) here refers to the way citizens choose public servants of the state. The election system of the People’s Republic of China here refers to the election of deputies to the people’s congresses at various levels.

The election of deputies to the people’s congresses includes general local election and the election of deputies from the armed forces, in the special administrative regions and among Taiwan compatriots.

The general election is applicable to the choice of local deputies and deputies in ethnic self-government areas.


I. The Right to Vote and Stand for Election

1. The right to vote and stand for election

(1) Obtaining the right to vote and stand for election

1) Direct right to vote and stand for election

All citizens of the People’s Republic of China who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote and stand for election, regardless of ethnic status, race, sex, occupation, family background, religious belief, education, property status or length of residence.

Those who have been convicted to prison terms, are serving short-term forced labor under detention or have been put under surveillance but have not been stripped of their political rights; those who are in custody, under investigation, being charged and tried but the procuratorate or the court has not decided to suspend their rights of election; those who are on bail, or in residences under surveillance; those who are being reeducated through labor and those who have been punished with detention have the right to vote and stand for election.

2) Indirect right to vote and stand for election

In general local elections, deputies to the people’s congresses at various levels have the right to vote, but those who have the right to stand for election are not restricted to deputies of the people’s congress of the same level.

In the election of deputies in the armed force units equivalent to above the county level, deputies to army men congresses of the same level have the right to vote but those who have the right to stand for election are not restricted to deputies of the army men congresses of the same level.

In the election of deputies in special administration regions, members of electoral meetings have the right to vote but those who have the right to stand for election are not restricted to members of electoral meetings.

The election of deputies among Taiwan compatriots is conducted by consultation of the organizations of standing committees of people’s congresses of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government. Those who have the right to vote are those chosen by the consultations but people who have the right to stand for election are not restricted to those chosen by the consultations.

(2) Suspension of the right to vote and stand for election

During direct elections, those who are under custody, being investigated, charged or tried because of endangering national security or other serious criminal activities are suspended of their right to vote and stand for election during the period of custody, upon decision of the procuratorate or the court.

(3) The stripping of the right to vote and stand for election

Those who are stripped of their political rights according to law do not have the right to vote or stand for election.

2. Recognition of the qualifications of the electorate during direct elections

(1) Registration of voters

The registration of voters is a legal recognition of the voter.

Citizens must register according to law, and after verification of their qualifications, they are entered into lists of voters for publicity, before they become voters.

The registration of voters is presided over by the election committee and carried out in constituencies.

Before each election, those who have reached the age of 18 and those who have regained their political rights since the last election shall be registered.

Voters who have moved their residence out of their original constituencies after registration shall be entered in the list of voters in the constituencies they have newly moved into.

Names of voters who have died or been stripped of their political rights shall be struck out of the lists of voters.

Once recognized upon registration, the qualifications of voters remain valid.

(2) The publicity of lists of voters

The lists of voters shall be made public by the election committee 20 days before the day of voting.

(3) Arbitration in case of disputes over the qualifications of voters

Disagreeing opinions for the lists of voters may be made to the election committee.

The election committee shall make a decision on the disagreeing opinion within three days.

Those who cannot accept the ruling of the election committee may appeal to a court five days before the election day and the court should make a judgment before the election day.

The ruling of the court is the final decision.

3. Guarantee of the rights of voters

(1) The guarantee of the voters of their rights

No one may take actions in whatever form at any time to investigate the electoral conduct of the voters.

(2) Secret voting and competitive election

1) Secret voting

All elections take the form of secret ballot.

If the voter is blind or physically disabled to write, he or she may entrust others to fill in the ballot.

2) Competitive election

Election of deputies to people’s congresses at all levels adopts the competitive election method.

II. Organs Presiding over the Election

1. Organs presiding over the election

Direct elections are presided over by election committees of the same level. Indirect elections are presided over by the standing committees of people’s congresses of the same level.

Election of deputies of the armed forces is presided over by election committees of the corresponding levels.

Election of deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) in special administrative regions is presided over by the Standing Committee of the NPC.

The Standing Committee of the NPC presides over the electoral meetings of special administrative regions and the electoral meetings elect a presidium, which shall preside over the electoral meetings.

Election of deputies to the NPC among Taiwan compatriots is presided over by the Standing Committee of the NPC. Standing committees of people’s congresses (http://english.gov.cn/2005-09/02/content_28456.htm) (http://english.gov.cn/2005-09/02/content_28456.htm) of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government and the armed forces are responsible to organize consultations to elect deputies.

2. The functions and powers of election committees during direct election

(1) To preside over the election of deputies to people’s congresses at the corresponding levels;

(2) To decide on the date of election;

(3) To conduct registration of voters, examine the qualifications of voters and publicize lists of voters;

(4) To look into appeals of disagreement lodged by voters concerning the lists of voters and make due decisions;

(5) To decide on the division of constituencies and allocate the number of deputies to the constituencies;

(6) To tally and publicize the names of candidates for deputies and according to the opinion of the majority of voters, decide and publicize the official lists of candidates for deputies;

(7) To dispatch staff to preside over ballot casting stations or the election of electoral meetings;

(8) To decide on whether the election is valid and publicize the lists of names of deputies elected; and

(9) To process reports and charges against violations during the election.


III. Allocation of the Number of Deputies

1. Deputies to local people’s congresses in ordinary administrative regions

The number of deputies to the NPC, and people’s congresses of provinces, autonomous regions, counties and autonomous counties is distributed by the standing committee of the corresponding level according to the principle of one deputy in rural areas representing a population four times that of a deputy in urban areas.

2. Deputies to people’s congresses in ethnic self-government regions

(1) In areas where the population of one ethnic minority makes up 30 percent or more of the total local population, the population a deputy represents equals that represented by any other deputies in the same local people’s congress.

(2) In areas where the population of one ethnic minority makes up more than 15 but under 30 percent of the total local population, the population a deputy represents may be smaller than that represented by other deputies in the same local people’s congress but deputies from this ethnic minority shall be no more than 30 percent of the total number of deputies.

(3) In areas where the population of one ethnic minority makes up less than 15 percent of the total local population, the population a deputy represents may be less than one half of that represented by other deputies in the same local people’s congress. In counties of ethnic self-government where minority population is exceptionally small, the population a deputy represents may be less than half of the total local population, upon decision of the standing committee of the people’s congress of a province or an autonomous region. Other ethnic groups whose populations are exceptionally small may have at least one deputy in the local people’s congress.

(4) Ethnic minorities living in scattered communities shall have their deputies and the population each deputy represents may be smaller than that represented by every other deputy in the local people’s congress.

3. Deputies from the armed forces

The number of deputies of the armed forces in the people’s congresses of where they are stationed is decided by the standing committees of the specific provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, cities and counties where the army is stationed.

The number of deputies of the armed forces to the NPC is decided by the Standing Committee of the NPC and allocated by the supreme election committee of the armed forces.

4. Deputies in special administrative regions and among Taiwan compatriots

The allocation of the number of deputies to the NPC from special administrative regions and among Taiwan compatriots is decided by the Standing Committee of the NPC.


IV. Direct Election

Direct election means voters directly elect deputies to the people’s congresses by casting their votes.

Direct elections are applicable to the election of deputies to the people’s congresses of the counties, districts, townships and towns.

1. Division of constituencies

(1) Constituency and voter’s group

A constituency is often divided into several voters groups.

(2) Size and type of constituencies

1) The size of constituencies

The size of constituencies is decided according to the principle that a constituency may have one to three deputies.

The population an urban deputy represents shall be more or less the same as those in different constituencies in urban areas. The population a rural deputy represents shall be more or less the same as those in different constituencies in rural areas.

2) Types of constituencies

Urban constituencies may be divided according to residential quarters or according to production units, institutions or work units.

In urban areas, voters of a production (or working) unit or an institution may vote in the constituencies where they work.

During rural election of the county people’s congress, normally several villages constitute a constituency. Villages of exceptionally large populations or townships of exceptionally small populations may stand as a constituency on their own.

During the election of deputies to the people’s congresses of townships and towns, several villagers groups may form a constituency. Villagers groups with exceptionally large populations or villages with exceptionally small populations may stand as a constituency on their own.

2. The election process

(1) Naming the candidates

Candidates for deputies to the people’s congresses of the county and township levels are nominated according to constituencies.

Candidates may be nominated jointly or independently by political parties, mass organizations or more than ten voters, but the number of candidates a voter nominates shall not exceed the number of deputies in the corresponding areas.

(2) Casting the ballot

Ballot casting is presided over by the election committee.

Voting stations are established and mobile voting boxes are furnished in the constituencies. Election meetings may be called to cast the vote.

Voters obtain ballots by presenting their ID cards or voter’s cards.

Before ballot casting, staff presiding over the election shall tally and declare the number of voters, examine the ballot box in front of voters and organize voters to choose those to supervise ballot casting and help tally the votes.

The election is valid when more than half of the voters in a constituency have cast their votes. The election has to be held another time if less than this figure has cast votes.

(3) Counting the votes

When the casting of ballot is over, voting supervisors and vote tallying staff as well as the working personnel presiding over the election shall check the number of people who have cast their votes and the total votes received, make a record which is signed by the voting supervisors.

When the votes received equal or are less than the number of voters who have cast their ballot, the election is valid. If the votes received outnumber the people who have cast their ballot, the election is invalid.

When validity of the casting is confirmed, the counting of votes is finished.

When a ballot cast exceeds the number of deputies to be elected, the ballot is invalid. It is valid only when the number of deputies it elects equals or is less than the number of deputies to be elected.

(4) The election of candidates

A candidate wins the election when he or she receives more than half of the votes cast.

When the number of candidates receiving more than half of the votes cast exceeds the number of deputies to be elected, the candidate with the greater number of votes wins the election.

When more than one candidate receives the same amount of votes, they shall stand for another voting and the one with more votes wins the election.

When the number of candidates receiving more than half of the votes is below the number of deputies to be elected, another election shall be held to fill the vacancy.

The list of elected deputies is drawn according to the legally prescribed competitive election principle in light of the number of votes they receive during the first election.

During by-elections, those with more votes win but the votes they receive shall not be less than one-third of the total votes cast.

(5) Confirmation and declaration

When the counting of votes is completed, the election committee of each constituency confirms the validity of the election and makes due declaration.

(6) By-election

When the post of a deputy falls vacant during his or her term of service, a by-election shall be held in his or her constituency to fill the vacancy.

When a deputy is suspended of his or her qualification as a deputy, a by-election shall be held to fill the vacancy.

Candidates standing for election to fill the vacancy during by-elections may be more than or equal the actual number of deputies to be elected.

By-election methods are to be decided by the standing committees of people’s congresses at the provincial level.


V. Indirect Election

1. Indirect election

Indirect election means deputies to the people’s congresses at the next higher level are elected by deputies to the people’s congresses at the next lower level.

Indirect elections are applicable to the election of deputies to people’s congresses above the county level and deputies among the armed forces at the same level and deputies to the NPC elected from special administrative regions.

2. Election process

(1) Nominating the candidates

Candidates are nominated according to election units.

Candidates may be nominated by political parties or mass organizations jointly or independently or by more than ten deputies.

(2) Confirming the candidacy

After the lists of candidates are made, voting may be held, so long as the number of candidates conforms to the legally prescribed ratio of competitive election.

If the number of candidates exceeds the legally prescribed ratio of competitive election, a preliminary voting shall be held to finalize the lists of candidates.

The time for nomination and deliberation for candidates when electing, at the people’s congresses at and above the county level, deputies to the people’s congresses at the next higher level shall not be less than two days.

(3) Introduction of the candidates

Presidiums of people’s congresses make introductions of candidates to the deputies.

Political parties, mass organizations and deputies who recommend candidates may make introductions of the candidates they nominate at deputy’s group meetings.

Introduction to candidates must stop on the day of voting.

(4) Casting the ballot

Presidiums of people’s congresses shall preside over the voting.

Voting can only begin when more than half of the deputies are present at the occasion.

(5) Counting of the votes and declaration of election results

When the casting of ballots is completed, voting supervisors, vote counters and working personnel of the presidiums shall check the numbers of voters and votes, make a record which is signed by the voting supervisors.

Presidiums of people’s congresses decide whether the election results are valid and make due declaration.

(6) By-election

When the posts of deputies fall vacant or the qualifications of deputies annulled, by-elections are held to fill the vacancy. When the people’s congresses which make the original election are not in session, the standing committees of such people’s congresses shall conduct the by-election.

By-elections may adopt the competitive election or equal number methods.

Concrete methods of by-elections are to be drawn by standing committees of people’s congresses at the provincial level.


VI. The Choice of NPC Deputies from Special Administrative Regions and among Taiwan Compatriots

1. Deputies from special administrative regions

Election of NPC deputies from special administrative regions is presided over by the Standing Committee of the NPC.

Special administrative regions establish electoral meetings and election is presided over by the presidiums of electoral meetings.

More than ten members of the electoral meetings may jointly nominate NPC candidates.

Election results are announced by the presidiums and reported to the Deputy Qualification Examination Committee of the Standing Committee of the NPC. The Standing Committee of the NPC shall confirm and declare the qualifications of the deputies elected.

2. Deputies from among Taiwan compatriots

The method of electing NPC deputies from among Taiwan compatriots is decided specially according to related resolutions of the NPC.

NPC deputies from among Taiwan compatriots are chosen through consultation by the standing committees of people’s congresses of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government as well as organizations of the armed forces.


VII. Election Expenditure

Expenses for the election of the NPC and local people’s congresses at various levels are to be provided from the national treasury.


VIII. Punishment of Violations

Administrative or criminal penalties shall be meted out to those who disrupt election, prevent voters and deputies from making free use of the rights to vote and stand for election by means of violence, intimidation, cheating and bribery; those who fabricate election documents, make false reports on votes or commit other behaviors in violation of the law; those who suppress or retaliate people who report on or expose those whose conduct during the election violates the law or people who propose the removal of deputies.