Shanxi NPC deputy, 84, under fire for record re-election

By Li Cong Source:Global Times Published: 2013-3-4 2:18:01

Shanxi authorities have defended the reelection of a veteran deputy to the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in response to public accusations that the 84-year-old's record return to the top legislature was symbolic.

Shen Jilan, a villager from Pingshun county and NPC deputy since 1954, has long been recognized as a national model worker. She is the only representative to be consecutively elected as an NPC deputy 12 times. However, Shen's role as a deputy was questioned last year when she admitted she had never opposed a proposal during the NPC sessions.

Hu Suping, director of the publicity department of the Shanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said on Saturday that Shen was widely supported and re-elected by local villagers, stressing that she represents a voice for the grass-roots majority.

"If she was denied the chance to be reelected, there might have been greater opposition from local residents," Hu told the Nandu Daily as saying.

But the validity of Shen's reelection was challenged by netizens, some of whom proposed in jest the local government produce a movie under her name, implying her return as a deputy for a record 12th time was orchestrated by local authorities.

Popular novelist Murong Xuecun wrote in a post on his Sina Weibo account that Shen was re-elected for being "obedient and not clever." Fu Siming, a professor from the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC, said that the election of NPC deputies is not restricted by candidates' age, education or tenure under current laws.

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