Housing and social security top issues of Chinese people

08:15, February 22, 2011      

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"Livelihood issues", including an improved social security system and the provision of affordable housing, remain the top concerns of Chinese people, according to online polls conducted ahead of the country's annual parliamentary and political advisory sessions.

Many people took the opportunity to register their biggest hopes and fears online in the hope that their voices will be heard by the country's leaders, national lawmakers and political advisers who will gather in Beijing next month for the meetings that are known as the two sessions.

The two sessions feature the annual gatherings of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Among the 25 listed topics in a survey on xinhuanet.com, affordable housing was the one receiving the most votes as of 4 pm on Monday. The website conducting the poll is affiliated to Xinhua News Agency.

The topic earned 5 percent of the total votes cast at the time and was followed by concerns about inflation, income and employment.

China has witnessed escalating housing prices during recent years, while owning a subsidized affordable home has been a dream for many needy citizens.

In their postings, netizens expressed the hope that the government will accelerate the supply of affordable homes to low-income groups and tighten measures to rein in rising property prices.

"Affordable homes should never be used as a tool for profiteering by rich people," said one online posting that stipulated subsidized homes should be strictly restricted to those requiring assistance.

According to officials, China plans to build 10 million affordable apartments and houses for the country's poorest citizens during 2011.

On people.com.cn, a website subsidiary of People's Daily, most of those who responded to an online survey were concerned about the nation's social security system.

Out of a total of 249,135 votes on more than a dozen topics, "social security" received 58,812 votes, almost one fourth of the total votes cast. It was the biggest concern for Chinese people as of 4 pm on Monday, according to the ongoing poll.

Netizens also complained about the existing "dual pension scheme", in which civil servants and employees of government-affiliated institutions are entitled to pensions that are several times larger than pensions people receive after working in the private sector.

Song Xiaowu, head of the China Society of Economic Reform, said the country has been haunted by an uneven allocation of social security resources between different social groups.

"Namely, between the urban and rural areas, farmers and city workers, enterprise employees and government staff, ordinary workers and officials," he said.

Xinhua - China Daily

Source:China Daily
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