Monday, November 11, 2013

What Chinese citizens hope to see from Third Plenum

Two elephants in the room – political freedom and economic welfare

The below is a re-print of an article that appeared in the website. True to long-held notions about the Chinese population, economics trump political freedom as the leading aspiration. Nevertheless, it is inevitable that, as the country gains a certain base level of material comfort, political freedom’s importance will increasingly become the larger elephant in the room. 
The Third Plenum is currently underway, and the China Communist Party’s Central Committee is reportedly discussing major reforms from "development of a socialist market economy, democracy, cultural development, social harmony and ecological progress." Here's what Chinese citizens want to see according to a Global Times survey:

According to the poll, more than 63 percent of the respondents said they will pay close attention to the plenary session, while some 36 percent said they will pay no attention.

In the multiple-choice survey on what respondents hoped from the plenum, reforms on the social welfare and social security systems, income distribution system and anti-corruption mechanism led the votes.
    • Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed said they look forward to reforms in the social welfare and social security systems, while over half of the respondents also welcomed reforms on the income distribution and anti-corruption fronts.
    • In comparison, only about 33 percent of the respondents chose the political system as their desired area of reform.
    • It also suggested that respondents who were male, older or holding at least a bachelor's degree are more prone to calling for political reforms.
    • The result shows that while political reforms are aspired for by people mainly from the elite class, the majority of the public pay more attention to issues that are related to their livelihood, said Xu Yong, dean of the Research School of Politics at Central China Normal University.

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