Democracy in a Chinese classroom
Chinese children practice democracy -dirty tricks and everything.
Once one has the power, then one has everything, and so the whole nation would like to be government bureaucrats. For example, 60% of China's college graduates choose government as their ideal career.
It was the first time that the post had not been the gift of the teacher and it was the children's first taste of democracy. It turned out to be a cut-throat competition.
The class monitor is charged with maintaining order in the classroom when the teacher is out of the room and is expected to report any rule breaking to the teacher. The three candidates were all thoroughly determined to win this prized position of power, and they used a variety of tactics to try to achieve their ambition.
Little Cheng Cheng was astonishing, very conniving. In fact they were all quite strategic in their campaigns.
Every step of the way they were forcefully supported and guided by their parents, who behaved almost like political advisers.
Luo Lei had already been a class monitor for two years. When asked whether he wanted the help of his parents in securing his classmates' votes, he said: "No, I will rely on my own strength.
Xu Xiaofei, the only girl candidate, was reluctant at first to try to sell herself to the class, but her mother trained her to make speeches and tried very hard to build up her confidence.
Democracy in action
Every child or "small sun" has his parents caring for him and influencing him. His family all expect him to be a success in society, even though he is so young. There is no world of childhood in China.
Luo Lei's parents were able to help his campaign by taking the class for a trip on the modern monorail system - which is managed by his father's police department - and by giving him gifts to hand out after his final speech.
In the end, although the class agreed that Luo Lei had been very strict with them, they elected him in a secret ballot.
I believe the children's joy and sorrow throughout the election, their winning and losing, truly reflect the tough yet hopeful democratisation process in China.