October 16, 2012

China inequality causes unease

Richard Wike, Associate Director, Pew Global Attitudes Project

Special to BBC News

Despite more than 90% of Chinese feeling that they enjoy a higher standard of living than their parents, concerns over corruption, social inequality and food safety are growing, according to a Pew Global Attitudes Survey.

Most presidents and prime ministers would love to have the kind of GDP growth China’s incoming leader Xi Jinping will inherit. The fact that forecasters now predict China’s growth may “slow” to below 8% next year will probably elicit little sympathy from Greece’s Antonis Samaras or Spain’s Mariano Rajoy.

But by recent Chinese standards growth figures like this are a disappointment. A slowdown is particularly troubling for Xi because, as China prepares for its once-in-a-decade leadership transition, a Pew Global Attitudes survey conducted there this year finds that its citizens are also increasingly worried about a variety of other domestic issues, especially corruption, inequality and consumer protection.

In many ways, these rising concerns all revolve around the idea of fairness. In the realm of politics, many see a system in which the politically well-connected regularly parlay their positions and networks into considerable wealth.

Read the full commentary at BBC News

Cite this publication: “China inequality causes unease.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (October 16, 2012) http://www.pewglobal.org/2012/10/16/china-inequality-causes-unease/, accessed on July 23, 2014.