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Secret ballot ensures lawmaker's candid voting
Updated: 2006-03-06 15:43

 China's legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), has adopted secret ballot in bill voting and election for more than half a century. However, some lawmakers suspect their voting might be recorded.

At the ongoing annual full session of the legislature, China's 11th Five-Year Plan for economic and social development, government work, parliament work, supreme court and procuratorate work, and budget plan will be voted for approval.

To expel some NPC deputies' doubt on the secret voting system and ensure their candid voting, 70 NPC deputies from 35 delegations were recently invited to the Great Hall of the People, the conference place for NPC deputies, to learn and examine the system.

Wu Zixiang, an NPC deputy and general manager of Guangdong- based Huatai Monitoring Technology Company, said, "Through the engineer's demonstration, I saw that the ballot system only adds up signals of affirmative votes, negative votes and abstaining votes, but does not record NPC deputies' stand in voting."

"According to my professional knowledge, I know that some countries have ballot systems which record procedures and show every voter's stand in voting," said Wu, who is also an engineer in monitoring technology. "However, China has adopted a secret ballot method in accordance with its laws and regulations, demonstrating the respect for lawmakers' will."

Liu Qi, a professor with the Southwest Petroleum University and an NPC deputy in the Taiwan delegation, also participated in the ballot system examination. "I never had any misgiving when I pressed the key on the voting machine in front of me. I think the NPC session's organizers are very considerable to invite us to examine the ballot system."

Feng Binghong, an engineer in charge of the secret ballot system of the Great Hall of the People, said the current voting system was designed in strict accordance with secret ballot principle enshrined in Chinese laws. The system has been in stable operation for more than ten years.

"On the voting machine, green button stands for approval, red button for opposition and yellow button for abstaining. The computer system only adds up different color signals without saving or tracing the NPC deputies' voting records," he said.

"Technical guarantee will help demonstrate the true intention of deputies and realize democracy," said Hu Jinguang, a legal professor with the People's University of China. "The examination tour of the secret voting system will expel the suspicion of NPC deputies in their voting."

China's Organic Law, adopted in 1954, stipulates that the National People's Congress adopts secret ballot in election and bill voting or voting by a show of hands.

In 1979, China promulgated Election Law, which requires that the people's congress at various levels adopt secret ballot. The voting by a show of hands was officially abolished in China's parliament.

In 1990, electronic voting machines started to be used in NPC sessions to better safeguard deputies' right to vote.

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