The average participation rate in grassroots democratic elections is above 80 percent in rural China, with some places even boasting over 90 percent, says a white paper on Building of Political Democracy in China, issued by the Information Office of the State Council on Wednesday.
The white paper says, among China's population of 1.3 billion, over 800 million are rural residents. The Chinese Constitution prescribes the legal status of the villagers' committee as a mass organization of rural grassroots self-government. The implementing rules of the Law on Organization of the Villagers' Committees and the measures of election of villagers' committees have been enacted or revised in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government on the mainland of China, which provides a more specific legal guarantee for the villagers' self-government.
According to the white paper, by the end of 2004, some 644,000 villagers' committees had been established throughout the country, with most of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government having elected their fifth or sixth committees.
According to the white paper, to date, 85 percent of the villages in China have established the system of villagers' meetings or villagers' representative meetings for democratic decision-making. Now, more than 80 percent of the villages in China have enacted villagers' self-government rules or villagers' code of conduct and established systems of democratic financial management and auditing, and for village affairs management.
The white paper says, expanding the scope of grassroots democracy is an inevitable trend and the important base for the improvement and development of political democracy with Chinese characteristics.
The white paper says, China has now established a grassroots democratic self-government system, which mainly includes the rural villagers' committee, urban neighborhood committee and the conference of workers and staff in enterprises. In these grassroots mass organizations of self-government in urban and rural areas, the Chinese people directly exercise their legal rights of democratic election, democratic decision-making, democratic management and democratic supervision, so that they can manage the public affairs and welfare undertakings of their grassroots organizations and communities by themselves. This has become the most direct and broadest practice of democracy in China today.