‘Most Chinese want political reforms’



Beijing: Most Chinese want political reforms, according to a new survey ahead of the once-a-decade leadership transition in the Communist nation, highlighting the yearning for change among the country's 1.2 billion population.

The survey conducted by Global Times said eight out of 10 Chinese believe the country should initiate political reform and it should be carried out at a gradual pace.

The survey, in which more than 1,200 people aged over 18 participated, said that they are most concerned about "economic development and people's livelihoods," which came ahead of "the country's future and policy direction."

While expressing satisfaction China's economic and social development over the past 10 years, about 81.4 per cent of respondents said they support political reform in China and 69.7 per cent of the respondents said they felt that gradual reform is good for the country.

About political reform, over 70 per cent of people wanted public supervision over the state-controlled the media.

Strengthening anti-corruption efforts and increasing transparency in government information came as the second and the third, with 69.3 per cent and 66.5 per cent respectively supporting the measures.

When asked "What will be the biggest challenge in the next five years for China in terms of maintaining social stability," corruption jumped to the top of the list with 39. 9 per cent of people saying they believe it is the key problem in China.

Wealth imbalances and defective social security systems came as the second and the third.

Over 70 per cent of the respondents wanted to see more effort from the government in providing medical care, retirement pensions and social security in the next five years.

China's ruling Communist Party, which monopolised the nation's political system since 1949, will select new leaders during the party's key meeting starting tomorrow.

Another online survey conducted by China Youth Daily showed that an overwhelming 75.4 per cent of the 11,405 respondents believe income disparity will hinder the country's development over the next 10 years. Other worrying trends include unrestricted power of officials, the expansion of special interest groups, the worsening environment and violating the interests of the disadvantaged, the survey said.

More than 50 per cent of respondents agreed they were concerned about these issues.

Many Chinese say there was no wealth gap in the era of Party founder Mao Zedong though his hard-line Marxian ideology resulted in extreme poverty, which was subsequently overturned by his successor late Deng Xiaoping. Since then China has emerged as the second largest economy and incomes have risen but the wealth gap spiralled with new rich emerging from the ranks of poor in no time.

PTI