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People's top concerns deserve attention
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-03-10 06:32

In comparison with last year's annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), this year's two sessions have attracted attention from ordinary people, according to an editorial in the China Youth Daily. An excerpt follows:

During this year's two sessions, the People's Daily and its website jointly conducted an opinion poll among ordinary people about what topics had attracted their attention during the sessions.

So far, about 10,000 people have participated in this Internet poll, suggesting the top 10 issues over which they are concerned about. These cover the political, economic, social, scientific, educational and cultural fields.

The top 10 concerns, in order of importance, are: promoting social equity and narrowing the gap between rich and poor; combating corruption and building a clean government; paying attention to education and educational corruption; improving medical help for ordinary people and setting up a better medical insurance system; worries about reforms of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and preventing the loss of State assets; governing in accordance with the law; paying attention to the concerns of ordinary people; cracking down on fake and inferior goods; maintaining social justice and establishing judicial authority; easing housing shortages in urban areas; and curbing inflation.

Last year, Xinhua News Agency's website and the Economic Information Daily also jointly conducted an Internet opinion poll entitled "what are your top concerns" among Internet users on the eve of the two sessions.

Their top concerns as in answers received were: anti-corruption; an increase in farmers' incomes; unbalanced economic development among different regions and the income gap between rich and poor; wanton educational charges; breaking the monopolies of the telecommunications and railway industries; maintenance of social stability and order; how to improve the social security system; employment; how to protect the legal rights and interests of migrant workers and the referendum by the Taiwan authorities.

Through comparison of ordinary people's concerns over the two years, some new worries can be seen.

The first thing to note is that some issues of concern last year are still worrying people.

For example, how to narrow the gap between rich and poor and anti-corruption were both top concerns, and are still among the hottest issues this year. People were also worried about these issues during NPC and CPPCC sessions in 2002 and 2003.

The reason why ordinary people attach great importance to these issues is crystal clear - they have not yet been sorted out. That might take years.

But it is hoped that these issues will no longer be among people's top concerns in coming years if they are solved.

The second thing to note is that some of the hottest issues during last year's two sessions are no longer on the list of top concerns this year.

How to increase farmers' incomes and how to protect the legitimate rights and interests of migrant workers, for instance, were big issues last year and even the year before last.

The reason that they are not major worries this year is that either the two problems have already been resolved, or are being resolved, by the government or become relatively less important.

Payment difficulties for migrant workers with their employers, and how to protect their legitimate rights and interests have already been resolved or improved to a large extent.

This is because NPC deputies and CPPCC members stood up to speak for them at the previous two sessions.

The third issue to note is that some issues which did not catch ordinary people's attention last year have become their top concerns this year.

Among them is the issue of complaints from ordinary people and how they should receive attention from deputies and members of the two sessions.

Other newly listed concerns, which are the result of social developments, also deserve attention from the government.

(China Daily 03/10/2005 page4)

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