What do you think is a ‘very big problem’ in today’s China? The latest information published by Pew indicates that concerns about air and water pollution have skyrocketed since 2012, but still haven’t broken the top 3 biggest concerns of corruption, inequality, and inflation.
Surprisingly enough, Pew’s data shows that worries about food and medical safety have actually declined over the past year, despite a few flare-ups in 2013. Food safety still ranks fairly high, especially with its ties to avian flu, but it’s certainly easier to find safe food than safe air.
2013 was, by all calls, a terrible year for the environment. Somewhere between airpocalypse and hogwash, stories of “Jesus Christ look how horrible the (everything natural) is in China” became an easy target for news reports.
The top three, however, are classics. The rich-poor gap (in China more like the urban-rural gap) is a huge factor in the daily lives of millions—if not hundreds of millions—of citizens. Add a bit of fuerdai shameless-wealth-flaunting on top, and you have a recipe for some class-system angst. Official corruption has also gotten significantly more lip-service over the past year, thanks in no small part to Xi Jinping’s ongoing crack-down that has been wreaking havoc on comfortably corrupt officials since it started in late 2012/early 2013.
The biggest “very big problem” is rising prices. Apparently fewer people have pegged this as issue #1 than in 2012, but it’s still numero uno. While many of the other topics may receive more news coverage and more explosive headlines (AIRPOCALYPSE, FLUMAGEDDON, et. al.) the thing that matters most to the average man or woman is how much shit costs. Fair point.
Pew has apparently collected this data from throughout the country, but one would be very interested to see how the “very big problem” responses vary when Shanghai is compared to, say, Ürümqi.
[Image from Pew, via @ianbremmer]