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  • Schoolchildren in China take part in an experiment in democracy by running for class monitor.

    Schoolchildren in China take part in an experiment in democracy by running for class monitor.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/please_vote_for_me-trailer.jpgmp4:please_vote_for_me-trailer-1024.mov
  • Cheng Cheng, Xiaofei Xu, Luo Lei, in front of class, Wuhan Evergreen No. 1 Primary School

    Cheng Cheng, Xiaofei Xu, Luo Lei, in front of class, Wuhan Evergreen No. 1 Primary School

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  • Cheng Cheng, candidate for Class Monitor, Wuhan Evergreen No. 1 Primary School

    Cheng Cheng, candidate for Class Monitor, Wuhan Evergreen No. 1 Primary School

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  • Xiaofei Xu, one of the candidates for Class Monitor, Wuhan Evergreen No. 1 Primary School

    Xiaofei Xu, one of the candidates for Class Monitor, Wuhan Evergreen No. 1 Primary School

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  • Luo Lei, candidate for Class Monitor, Wuhan Evergreen No. 1 Primary School

    Luo Lei, candidate for Class Monitor, Wuhan Evergreen No. 1 Primary School

    http://cdn.itvs.org/please_vote_for_me-04.jpg
  • Teacher, Cheng Cheng, Xiaofei Xu, Wuhan Evergreen No. 1 Primary School

    Teacher, Cheng Cheng, Xiaofei Xu, Wuhan Evergreen No. 1 Primary School

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  • Luo Lei addressing the class. Behind are his assistants as well as opponents, Cheng Cheng  and Xiaofei Xu.

    Luo Lei addressing the class. Behind are his assistants as well as opponents, Cheng Cheng and Xiaofei Xu.

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  • Xiaofei Xu, reads out her campaign promises whilst one of her election opponents, Cheng Cheng, looks on at  Wuhan Evergreen No. 1 Primary School.

    Xiaofei Xu, reads out her campaign promises whilst one of her election opponents, Cheng Cheng, looks on at Wuhan Evergreen No. 1 Primary School.

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The Film

An experiment in democracy is taking place in Wuhan, the most populous city in central China. For the first time ever, the students in grade three at Evergreen Primary School in Wuhan, China have been asked to elect a class monitor. Traditionally appointed by the teacher, the class monitor holds a powerful position, helping to control the students, keeping them on task, and doling out punishment to those who disobey. The teacher has chosen three candidates: Luo Lei (a boy), the current class monitor; Cheng Cheng (a boy); and Xu Xiaofei (a girl). Each candidate is asked to choose two assistants to help with his or her campaign.

To prove their worthiness, the candidates must perform in three events. After a talent show and a debate, ach candidate must deliver a speech, asking their classmates for their votes.

At home, each of the children is coached by his or her parents and pushed to practice and memorize for each stage of the campaign. Although their parents are supportive, the candidates feel the pressure. Tears and the occasional angry outburst reveal the emotional impact. At school, the candidates talk to classmates one-on-one, making promises, planning tactics (including negative ones) and at times expressing doubts about their own candidacies.

For all three children, the campaign takes its toll, especially for the losing candidates and their assistants. Viewers are left to decide if the experiment in democracy has been successful and what it might mean for democracy education in China. Please Vote for Me challenges those committed to China’s democratization to consider the feasibility of, and processes involved in, its implementation.

The Filmmakers

  1. Weijun ChenDirector
  2. Don EdkinsProducer