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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Are Chinese people truly miserable?

(Global Times)

11:51, November 27, 2011

"Misery" is a regular word today. From emotions reflected in the media and online, the Chinese sense of misery is increasing while happiness seems to be dwindling. Here are two questions: Firstly, is the sense of misery in Chinese society beyond normal? Secondly, what can the government and society at large do to stop this?

The conclusion is often that most Chinese people feel more miserable than before. As various conflicts break out, the public faces more social evils than before and have more ways to express their distress. Consequently the impression of their lifestyle is badly affected and negative assessments on society are flocking in.

But it is not proper to say the Chinese sense of misery has become unbearable. According to several surveys, Chinese are rather optimistic in their worldview. China is not an angry country or on the cusp of revolution.

The sheer size of China is an amplifier for the concrete pains but it also serves as a buffer to various problems. It is hard to tell whether Chinese society is more adaptable to bad news or not. There are more voices demanding that the government help individual misfortune. However, diligence and hard work are enshrined in Chinese society and these should help lift spirits.

However, the government should bear the burden to reduce public misery, bringing dreams and hopes to society and encourage people to move in the right direction. Chinese people should believe that a better life awaits them and that the next generation will embrace a brighter future. People should also be confident in a more democratic and fairer society with less corruption.

It is worth noting that realizing the best combination of the national dream and individual dreams has become vitally important since political ideals such as communism have moved away from our daily lives.

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Tracker at 2012-02-09122.107.87.*
Depression is a major mental health problem in Western countries these days. I think misery is being confused with depression. People these days are more vulnerable to depression perhaps partly because of modernisation (information overload, rapid changes in technology and materialistic needs being programmed into their heads through advanced marketing and advertising tactics and goal posts towards success keep moving forward at a faster rate.. but such is life). Social education and the need for quick satisfaction is like a drug addiction, it wears out quickly then you are looking for something else to give you stimulation in this fast moving world of ours. We were taught many years ago to process problems by putting them into categories, resolving those which can be easily done therefore lessening the burden and stress to resolve more difficult problems and not putting off for tomorrow what you can do today. Nowadays, every problem is a big problem no matter how small or large and if it becomes to much of a problem you avoid it.. and then the problem gets bigger. I don"t think expecting the Government to solve every single problem you have is the right way to go. Government provides the necessary administration, education, tools and paths and sets the boundaries on what is acceptable in society and then it us up to you to decide what to do with it. Try pleasing your mother and your father at the same time.. because your mother and father will have different expectations of your achievements. If one expects help then one should learn to help themselves (and others) before expecting assistance. We already have many people like that in our society who give so much and ask little in return (Teachers, Doctors, Nurses, Police and Army just to name a few). @giyang, Governments censor certain material for a reason (ours is not to reason why) but to allow people access to what a Government deems is censored just because they become more educated has a bad side effect. The more one delves into a particular subject and in particular those subjects which the Government (rightly or wrongly) deems not acceptable then you either start creating Elitists who think they are better than everyone else or you start creating some very sick minds. Different countries have differing censorship standards due to their own domestic reasons but the true test to see if Government censorship is fair is if you are permitted to mention what topics are censored. China may censor Facebook (I agree with their reasons by the way), they may censor certain topics related to Tibet or Xinjiang (for obvious public safety reasons) or censor discussion on Falun Gong/Falun Dafa (for many reasons but mainly because they are a dangerous and violent cult) but China makes no secret they have censored these topics. It may interest you that Australia is currently developing a Firewall far more advanced and far more secret than China"s Firewall and Australia also has a secret list of banned topics and banned websites that is so secret they won"t tell anyone what they are so I have no idea what censorship I have in this country. At least your Government tells you what they are doing :-)
Wendy Bryce at 2011-12-2775.158.171.*
The government cannot be responsible for alleviating people"s misery. It is my belief that faith in God and following his teaching is the only true way to find inner peace. I have followed these teachings all of my life - 65 years now - and my cup runs over with joy. It is new everyday and it never fades no matter what is going on in the world.
gjyang at 2011-12-01220.164.118.*
Maybe giving people more choices (harmless, wholesome choices) may bring forth more happiness to more of the people. One person"s favorite may be another"s antipathy - so having choices to access one"s favorites (without blanket sensorship over an entire subject matter) may bring greater happiness to a greater number of people - and definitely promote creativity and inventiveness.As people become more educated, it becomes safer for them to access wide-ranging materials to broaden their intellect, and maintain their lifelong learning.
wende at 2011-11-2971.251.41.*
Officials can encourage people to relax more and not be bothered by the daily anxiety. By exercise and join group activities will help. Media should also assist in bringing out the sentiment that "money does not always give you happiness". The constant showing of luxuries should also be reduced so as not to bring down public morality.
PD User at 2011-11-2874.177.65.*
Chinese should rethink the western propoganda of each generation betters themselves from their parents. That curve played out. Oh not for everyone perhaps, but certainly in USA. Two generations ago life was much better. Only fools and corporate owned media pushes material value as needs, obliterating emotional value and needs. We go thru stages, with the longest stage being wisdom of age when what matters most is evenings sitting with loved ones playing in a band, or telling folk stories, and aroma of grandmas food simmering. It does not get better than this.

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