Democracy Denied

With a dusty Mao cap perched on his head and a likeness of the Chairman affixed near his bed, comrade Yu Maitong appears the perfect communist. His political career, which began three years before the People's Republic was founded in 1949, spanned proud years served as a socialist foot soldier, commune director and collective farmer. Now, at 77, Yu is representing his party once again, as the first directly elected leader of his tiny village in eastern Shandong province. In May 1999, Yu beat out nine other candidates to land the officious-sounding title of village committee director. "I am proud to...

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