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Chinese public increasingly unhappy with life: survey

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Dec 16, 2010
People in China are increasingly dissatisfied with their lives as confidence in Beijing's ability to govern the vast country and manage the economy falters, according to a key government think tank.

Indicators showed that public satisfaction with jobs and social security was at its lowest in four years, said the annual report based on a poll of the public and launched this week by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

"Urban and rural residents' overall life satisfaction declined as the negative impacts of the financial crisis gradually came into play in 2010," said the annual Blue Book of China's Society.

Confidence in the government's ability to manage economic, social and international affairs fell, while pride in China's world status, which has been on the rise for four years, dropped back to its 2006 level, it said.

In a further sign of growing fears about the country's soaring inflation, the report found prices topped the list of concerns in 2010 and people's ability to absorb price rises slumped sharply.

China's consumer price index, a key gauge of inflation, rose 5.1 percent year on year in November, the fastest increase in over two years and well above Beijing's full-year target of three percent, as food costs continued to soar.

Ever fearful of inflation's historical potential to spark unrest, authorities have taken a range of measures to curb growth, with the central bank in October hiking interest rates for the first time in nearly three years.

The CASS report showed the Chinese public is also concerned about reform of the country's healthcare system and runaway housing costs. Reining in home prices has become the people's top expectation of the government, it said.

Property prices in China's major cities were up 7.7 percent in November from a year ago and 0.3 percent from October, the third straight month-on-month rise, official data shows, despite Beijing's efforts to cool the red-hot market.

More than 4,100 people were polled in seven major cities and seven smaller towns for the CASS report.

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