| Global Times | 2012-11-7 1:40:00
By Bai Tiantian
Most Chinese people believe China should initiate political reform and that the reform should be carried out at a gradual pace, according to a Global Times survey of residents in major cities on the eve of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
In the survey, which asked the opinions of more than 1,200 people aged over 18 in seven major cities across China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Changsha, Xi'an and Shenyang, the respondents said that they are most concerned about "economic development and people's livelihoods," which came ahead of "the country's future and policy direction."
About two-thirds of the respondents said China's economic and social development over the past 10 years had been satisfactory or somewhat satisfactory.
About 81.4 percent of respondents said they support political reform in China and 69.7 percent of the respondents said they felt that gradual reform is good for the country.
Some 86.2 percent of respondents felt that the 18th CPC National Congress is important or very important for China's future.
"The result represents people's perception of society. They acknowledge what China has achieved over the past 10 years, recognize the 18th CPC National Congress as the linchpin of China's development, and are aware of the changes China is facing at home and abroad," said Zhang Shuhua, a scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
As to what China should do in terms of political reform, more than 70 percent of the respondents said they believed that the government should further accept public supervision from the public and the media. Strengthening anti-corruption efforts and increasing transparency in government information came as the second and the third, with 69.3 percent and 66.5 percent respectively supporting the measures.
"The results of this poll echo previous investigations, which represent what people have been paying attention to, and what they anticipate in terms of political reform," said Zhang.
Some 85 percent of respondents believed that China is likely to face more challenges in the future.
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 percent 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.
When asked "what is the biggest problem in China's economy?" 27 percent of respondents chose monopolies in certain industries. Economic discrepancies between the eastern coastal area and West China was second at 22.9 percent.
Over 70 percent 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.
The international environment for China will get better in the future, some 40 percent of people said in the survey.
But Zhang said people may be overly optimistic, as a rising China is sure to face more complexities economically and politically.
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