23 October 2012
A Pew survey report released last week indicated that the Chinese have concerns not dissimilar to populations in the West. The side effects of development, rising prices, pollution, the gap between rich and poor and the loss of traditions worry many.
Inflation remains the top concern. But half the survey participants say that corrupt officials are a major problem, up from 39% four years ago. Not surprising when Chinese media report that more 700,000 officials have been directed to take corruption training over the last decade. A propaganda chief , who would have been influential in the National Congress which, next month, will confirm China’s new leadership, is in the news today, exposed as corrupt and implicated in a sex scandal.
Even more dramatic than the concern about corruption is the fear of food contamination, illustrated of course by the of infant milk powder crisis several years ago. Worries about food safety have increased more than three fold since 2008.
Pew also reports that the Chinese are less assured of the role of their country in the world. Only 29% of Chinese thought their country was the leading world economy whereas 41% of American and 58% of British respondents thought China had that position.