Author and tea entrepreneur Xia Shang (夏商), one of the leading figures in a wave of non-Chinese Communist Party members to run in local elections around China, has announced the withdrawal of his candidacy, saying he has been disgusted by what he saw in the current regime in the aftermath of the high-profile Wenzhou train collision.
In a post on Sina Weibo, Xia said, “My original intent in standing in the People’s Congress election was to abide by the constitution and fulfill my civic rights and duties within the framework of election law. However, since I first announced my candidacy, I have been surrounded by constant obstacles and setbacks. The series of recent horrible public incidents, however, has opened my eyes to the true situation and led me to lose all confidence in the current regime. I now feel a strong sense of shame at the thought of taking part in the upcoming election. To stand in the election would be do sully myself through association with the regime, and serve as affirmation and respect for it. This it does not deserve. As such, I hereby declare my withdrawal!” [h/t Global Voices]
A healthy debate has been going on about whether independent candidates running in local elections are actually affirming or rejecting the legitimacy of the current system. John Kennedy of Global Voices sums up some of those views here.