Net users praise two sessions

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/17 22:23:40 Last Updated: 2019/3/18 0:41:23

Education, incomes & housing top concerns: online poll

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at a press conference after the closing of the second session of the 13th National People's Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday. Photo: China News Service

Education, incomes and housing generated the greatest public attention during the two sessions as an analysis showed, prompting Chinese observers to conclude that people are growing more eager to pursue a better life as the country modernizes.

Educational equality received the most attention, accounting for 9.3 percent of all topics in a two sessions online survey conducted using big data by the Xinhua News Agency on China's Twitter-like Weibo, social media WeChat, Chinese news apps and websites.

Income, housing and social insurance were other top public concerns as the two-week legislative and political consultative meetings concluded Friday, the official survey showed.

The Chinese language "two sessions" hashtag on Weibo was viewed 7.6 billion times and attracted more than 3 million posts as of Sunday.   

The two sessions "closely relate to everyone" with "topics concerning people's livelihood" at the core of public attention, said Chinese observers reached by the Global Times. 

Those observers' comments echoed Premier Li Keqiang's Report on the Work of the Government.

"Any issue related to people's lives is of paramount importance and there are still a lot of things in this respect the government must do," Li said at a Friday press conference held at the conclusion of the second session of the 13th National People's Congress.

Quality of education

Focusing on educational equality, national legislators and political advisors proposed raising the standard of education in rural schools by offering better teaching to students and better salaries to staff. 

More than two-thirds of 49,000 interviewees had high expectations for proposals promoting more equal education, especially interviewees from rural villages, according to a survey by China Youth Daily conducted before the two sessions.

The government work report delivered by Premier Li addressed public concerns about education, saying the Chinese government would develop a "more equitable and higher quality education." 

The government should increase educational input, especially affordable pre-school education, and should also increase the quality of education in rural areas and raise salaries of teachers, Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the Shanghai-based 21st Century Education Research Institute, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Central government education spending - 4 percent of the country's GDP this year - was "not enough," Xiong said. 

Such an amount is difficult to support the goal of realizing an equitable education in the country, he said.

The evaluation system for schools and universities intensifies inequality of education in society and causes extreme anxiety in society, Xiong noted, referring to the different hierarchies imposed on universities and vocational schools in China. 

Improved living standards 

Incomes came second at 8.34 percent and housing third with 8.21 percent in the Xinhua survey. 

"As China enters a certain degree of modernization, Chinese people have a higher demand for improvement of their personal lives, not only in terms of quantity but quality," said Zhu Lijia, a professor of public management at the Chinese Academy of Governance in Beijing. 

People cared about a range of topics related to improving their lives - salary, jobs and housing, Zhu told the Global Times.

Meng Xiatian, a Beijing resident who hopes to buy a house, told the Global Times on Sunday that housing prices trouble not only his family, but tens of thousands of Chinese families.

"I expect the country to release a more favorable housing policy in 2019 to relieve burden for families like mine," he said.

Premier Li Keqiang's work report set economic and social development targets for this year including GDP growth rate of between 6-6.5 percent, more than 11 million new urban jobs and keeping personal income growth basically in step with economic growth. 

China has nearly 250 million citizens aged 60 years or older and over 100 million children younger than 6, Premier Li noted in his press conference on Friday.

Premier Li said Friday that "issues related to the aged and child-care are still commonly felt difficulties for the people and this must draw closer attention from the government."

Some lawmakers proposed retirees be re-hired for jobs and offered better care services.

China lacks employment information channels for retired people and faces a shortage of professional workers, analysts noted. 

Internet users praised ministries, officials and policies related to people's livelihood in posts on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform.

Targets of poverty alleviation efforts were among the topics hailed by net users. China plans to lift at least 10 million people and 300 counties out of extreme poverty this year. 

By 2020, China expects to raise the extreme poverty threshold to an annual income of 4,000 yuan ($595).



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