Authorities in the Chinese capital have eliminated an independent parliamentary election candidate from the official voting list ahead of district-level legislative polls next week.
Last week, Han Ying became the first person in the city not endorsed by the ruling Communist Party to win nomination as a district-level election candidate.
But she didn't make the final list of candidates on Tuesday, in spite of appearing on a preliminary list with no problems last week.
"The confirmed candidates' list was published today, and I'm not on it," Han said. "The decision is supposed to be made through consultation, but I'm not sure how they achieved that."
Han said no one in the district election office had contacted her about her candidacy.
"They had a meeting, but this meeting wasn't conducted according to the election law, so it's not normal," she said.
Han had been seeking election to the local branch of China's parliamentary body, the National People's Congress (NPC), representing her home district of Haidian, in western Beijing.
She was the only independent among 13 known Beijing election hopefuls to win a place on a preliminary official list of candidates, and the only one without a link to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
"Of the preliminary list of 21 candidates, 15 were directors of the [local] election committee, while a few were retired election committee directors," she said.
"I was the only independent candidate ... Today's final list only had three candidates: they are all Party members. All of them are election committee directors and two are also Party secretaries," she said.
Challenging the system
Dozens of political activists across China have joined the campaign to file applications to stand for the elections, in spite of official warnings that there is "no such thing" as an independent candidate.
Official media have said that anyone hoping to stand for elections this year to the district-level congresses will first have to clear "due legal procedures," the official Xinhua news agency reported.
However, activists are seeking to use a clause in the election rules which allows anyone with the endorsement of at least 10 constituents to seek nomination.
Elsewhere in the Chinese capital, would-be independent candidates were still under close police surveillance.
"I have four policemen following me," Haidian-based candidate Ye Qing said on Tuesday.
"There are more than 30 plainclothes policemen outside Wu Lihong's home," she said, referring to another election hopeful.
"If Wu Lihong tries to go outside her front door, they will take her away."
'Law' and 'reality'
Wu, who has already been held in administrative detention for 15 days after announcing her candidacy, confirmed Ye's report.
"They have poured out a lot of water deliberately into the construction site near our home so it's full of mud, and you can't get though at all," Wu said.
"They won't let any of the other 12 candidates visit me, and several have already been pulled away forcibly when they tried it."
Meanwhile, Beijing-based election hopeful Wang Xiuzhen said she had been told by local police that "the law isn't the same as reality."
"[One policeman] told me that the law is the law, and reality is reality," she said. "He said I was in the right, but that the time wasn't right to make it happen."
Apart from a token group of "democratic parties" which never oppose or criticize the ruling Communist Party, opposition political parties are banned in China, and those who set them up are frequently handed lengthy jail terms.
More than two million lawmakers at the county and township levels will be elected during nationwide elections, held every five years, in more than 2,000 counties and 30,000 townships from May 7, 2011 through December 2012.
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.