Who knew an election for third-grade class monitor could be so brutal? Chen Weijun’s documentary, Please Vote For Me follows a class election that has back-stabbing, name-calling, and gifts paid for by parents. However, it is the first of its kind of the school in Wuhan, China. The teacher selected three students to run for the position, but in an effort to teach the children about democracy, she lets the class decide among the candidates.
The nominees are Luo Lei, the class monitor for the previous two years. His father is the chief of police in Wuhan and arranges for the class to ride the city’s monorail and passes out gifts for the mid-Spring festival. He is known to be a tough class monitor and pretty harsh on the rest of the kids. Cheng Cheng, another candidate, accuses him of being a dictator and beating the students. Cheng Cheng is a boisterous, but somewhat charismatic figure. He is a good debater, but he spreads rumors and promises "positions" for his friends if he is elected class monitor. Last, but not least, is Xu Xiaofel, a quiet and shy girl, who is called a gossip and a "slow eater" by the other kids. She cries through her entire talent portion (yes, there is a talent portion) while being booed by the rest of the class. It was ugly.
A couple of things struck me. First and foremost, this is the first election for these children and somehow they fell right into an election straight out of Tammany Hall. There were gifts, patronage, and intimidation…and they were only eight! Secondly, their parents didn’t help either. Cheng Cheng’s parents saw this as the first step to becoming the leader of all of China. The parents of Luo Lei arranged for the field trip and the gifts for the class to persuade voters. For what it’s worth, China does have a one-child policy and these children are it. There is no other golden child. All three candidates desperately wanted to please their parents. But only one child can be class monitor! Watch and find out who wins.