Tonight, after today’s historic inauguration of Barack Obama and television’s non-stop celebration of this part of our democracy, PBS’ Independent Lens will re-air a documentary that explores democracy in a very different context: China’s first-ever democratic election in a school, which is for a third-grade hall monitor.
The film, which is on DVD, follows the election of a hall monitor at the Evergreen Primary School in Wuhan, China, where that position is typically appointed by teachers. The three teacher-selected candidates perform in a talent show, participate in a debate, and give a speech.
PBS says that their “campaign takes its toll, especially for the losing candidates and their assistants,” and that the film “challenges those committed to China’s democratization to consider the feasibility of, and processes involved in, its implementation.”
Here’s an excerpt: