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Monday, 16 March, 1998, 08:57 GMT
China's parliament embarrasses Li Peng

The outgoing prime minister of China, Li Peng, has been made chairman of parliament, in an election where he was the only candidate.

Despite the expected result, some three hundred delegates -- that's more than ten-per-cent of the National People's Congress -- failed to back him.

Two hundred voted against, and more than one-hundred abstained.

The BBC Beijing correspondent says such embarrassing signs of dissent are a reminder that Mr Li still suffers from his close association with the suppression of pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989.

He says the vote may also reflect dissatisfaction at the removal of the outgoing parliamentary chairman, Qiao Shi, who's been credited with introducing a limited degree of democracy into parliament.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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