Inequality, Corruption growing concerns for China, new research finds

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Inequalities and Corruption are among the growing
concern for China [Image Credit: dem10/getty image ]
Beijing: As China prepares for its once-in-a-decade change of leadership, the Chinese people believe their country faces serious and growing challenges with sharp increase in inequalities and corruption cases in the country, a new study has claimed.

Pew Research Center’s says, the side effects of rapid economic growth, including the gap between rich and poor, rising prices, pollution, and the loss of traditional culture are major concerns, and there are also increasing worries about political corruption.  

Research conducted by the Pew Research Center through a face-to-face interview with about 3,000 respondents between 18 and April 15, shows while the Chinese have consistently rated their national and personal economic situations positively over the last few years, they are now grappling with the concerns of a modern, increasingly wealthy society.

The Chinese public also increasingly expresses reservations about relations with the United States. Over the last two years, ratings for the U.S. and President Obama have declined significantly, and the percentage of Chinese who characterize their country’s relationship with the U.S. as one of cooperation has plummeted from 68% to 39%. Still, many Chinese embrace aspects of America’s soft power, including U.S. science and technology and American ideas about democracy.
Inflation remains the top concern of the Chinese public – six-in-ten consider rising prices a very big problem. Meanwhile, half say corrupt officials are a major problem, up from 39% four years ago.

Worries about consumer protection have also increased significantly. After a number of high-profile food safety scandals in recent years, concerns about the safety of food have more than tripled since 2008.

And while China’s economy has grown at a much faster rate than most countries since the onset of the global economic downturn, concerns about economic inequality have also increased. About half now say the gap between rich and poor is a very big problem, and roughly eight-in-ten agree with the view that in China the “rich just get richer while the poor get poorer.”

Moreover, the rapid changes that have transformed their society in recent years have not been welcomed by all Chinese. Most still say they like the pace of modern life, but fewer hold this view today than four years ago. Nearly six-in-ten say their traditional way of life is getting lost and even more think their way of life should be protected against foreign influence.

These are among the key findings from a survey of China conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 3,177 respondents between March 18 and April 15. The sample represents approximately 64% of the adult Chinese population.1. This poll in China is part of the broader 21-nation spring 2012 Pew Global Attitudes survey.

Globally, perceptions of Chinese economic power have been on the rise since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, and today many believe China is the world’s top economy. Across the 21 countries included in the spring 2012 Pew Global Attitudes survey, a median of 41% said China is the economic leader, while 37% named the U.S.

The Chinese, however, do not believe they have ascended to the top spot. About half (48%) say the U.S. is the world’s leading economy, while just 29% believe it is China. Americans, meanwhile, are divided: 41% think China is the top global economy, while 40% believe the U.S. remains the leader.
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