'Social conflicts' being solved, says official

08:28, February 24, 2011      

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The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government can and will deal with "social conflicts" that have arisen during the nation's fast social and economic development, said Zhao Qizheng, spokesman for the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which is China's top political advisory body.

Zhao gave the assurance on Wednesday to journalists after they asked him about the issue of social conflicts ahead of the opening of China's "two sessions". The meetings in Beijing next month will involve thousands of legislators and political advisers from both the National People's Congress (NPC) and the CPPCC National Committee.

Zhao admitted that a series of problems have come to the fore in recent years during China's fast economic development. The problems include an imbalance in development from one region to another, an unfair distribution of wealth across various groups and a wide gap between the rich and the poor.

However, Zhao said the problems will not undermine the nation's strong social stability and noted that the CPC has been actively seeking and finding solutions.

"The CPC and the Chinese government are not blind to these problems but have been very actively discovering and solving them through communication with the public and all sorts of investigations and research," Zhao said.

"As a party, the CPC has been very open about these problems and has been capable of adopting solutions. Therefore, we are confident and believe in stability and future development."

Zhao's remarks were seen as a direct response to the rising concerns of many people about issues that affect their everyday lives.

An online survey conducted by People's Daily asked respondents about "the issue you care about the most and want to see addressed during the two sessions". The top five items were social security, judicial justice, fighting corruption, income and the rising cost of housing.

"Dear Premier Wen Jiabao, please enforce anti-corruption," a netizen wrote in an online forum named "Raise your question to the Premier directly" on people.com.cn.

Another netizen wrote: "The government has been talking about controlling housing prices for a long time. Why are they still so high? I'm still hoping to buy a flat so I can get married."

Experts said the time is right for the government to put more emphasis on the fairer distribution of wealth, rather than on rapid development, so the fruits of economic development can reach more people instead of a minority.

"For example, those with an urban hukou (permanent residence permit) definitely have been more privileged than others - say migrant workers - during the past 30 years of economic development," said Yang Hongshan, a professor of public administration at Renmin University of China.

Ray Yang, a 25-year-old white-collar worker in Beijing, said people want concrete improvements to their lives, rather than words.

By Wang Jingqiong, China Daily

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