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By Zhang Jing, published: March 19, 2015   We were in Guangdong during the two weeks before the Chinese New Year, and Xiao Bin, an old classmate of ours, suggested that we make time to visit the village of Xiawei (下围村). “Interesting things” had happened there, he told us. This village known for airing its grievances year after year through petitions has been transformed. The village had been known in the area for tensions between village cadres and the populace, and they were the grounds for never-ending petitions by villagers. In 1999, the village held its first direct election. Though a good chance for reconciliation, the election unfortunately turned into a turmoil. The government had to send in 400 police officers to “maintain order.” In […]


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