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Lack of leisure time takes toll on workers

(China Daily)

10:33, October 11, 2012

(China Daily)

Chinese people have seen a decrease in leisure time in the past three years, a new study shows.

Insight China, a State-run magazine that looks into Chinese people's welfare, polled 1,007 people nationwide in August and September and found that 70 percent said they are unsatisfied about the amount of leisure time they have.

Sixty percent of people surveyed were between 23 and 42 years old, more than 70 percent earn 3,000 to 10,000 yuan ($480 to $1,590) a month, and 60 percent have a bachelor's degree or higher qualification.

Nearly 70 percent said they are overworked. More than 40 percent said they work 40 to 50 hours a week, with 1.3 percent saying more than 80 hours a week.

Only 30 percent of those polled said they work 40 hours a week, the statutory working hours stipulated by Chinese law.

Other factors that affect enjoyment of leisure time include family income, individual interests, habits and characteristics, skills to enjoy leisure activities, and health.

The survey found that more than 40 percent spend less than 10 hours a week on leisure, and only 8 percent have more than 30 hours a week for leisure.

Chinese people have seen decreasing leisure time since 2010, and more than 40 percent of respondents said they have enjoyed less leisure time this year than last.

Among the activities people said they will spend their leisure time doing, the first choice was surfing the Internet, followed by taking a walk, climbing a mountain, visiting parks, watching TV and traveling.

Chinese people commonly feel they have insufficient leisure time because of the country's stage of economic development, said Wei Xiang, director of the Beijing International Studies University's center for China leisure economic research.

"China is still very much a labor-intensive economy, and in such a situation it's hard to offer plenty of time for people to enjoy leisure," he said.

"Our study found that most Chinese people want to earn money instead of taking vacations," he said.

"When China successfully reforms its income distribution and the overall social security system is built, the situation will change."

Wei said many people still put work at the center of their everyday lives, and surfing the Internet benefits work because online chatting and sending e-mails helps establish connections and improves relationships.

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