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Survey reveals Chinese netizens’ top concerns ahead of two sessions

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Law-based governance, employment, and rural vitalization are among the top concerns of Chinese internet users, according to an online survey recently conducted by People’s Daily Online.

Aimed at pooling strengths, gathering opinions, and voicing public concerns before China’s annual two sessions, the survey, conducted annually, began on Feb. 5 and ended on Feb. 25.

The two sessions refer to the annual meetings of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which are the country’s top legislative and political advisory bodies, respectively.

This year’s two sessions survey marked the 23rd edition of the activity and was conducted across various platforms of People’s Daily Online. Approximately 6.15 million people participated in the survey.

In addition to law-based governance, employment, and rural vitalization, healthcare, high-quality development, elderly care, building a leading country in education, community governance, promoting excellent traditional Chinese culture, and national security education also ranked among the top 10 concerns from a list of 49 candidate issues across 10 fields, according to votes from respondents.

Law-based governance was the top concern. Most respondents acknowledged the progress made over the past year in addressing internet-based crimes, including telecom fraud and predatory online lending.

Among the suggested measures for advancing the rule of law in China, “further transforming government functions and improving administrative efficiency and credibility” received the highest number of votes.

Over 65 percent of respondents believe the country should “strengthen law enforcement in key areas involving the people’s immediate interests” and “ensure strict standards for fair and civil law enforcement and for the discretionary powers of law enforcement personnel.”

More than half of the respondents highlighted the need to “impose harsher penalties for crimes violating the rights of women, children, and the elderly,” “intensify the protection of the rights and interests of workers and the protection of workers engaged in new forms of employment,” “safeguard consumers’ legitimate rights and interests,” and “enhance the comprehensive efficiency and effectiveness of one-stop and diversified dispute resolution and litigation service systems.”

Employment remained a hot-button issue, as in previous years. More than 66 percent of the respondents believe that the most effective measure for stabilizing employment in 2023 was “enhancing policy support for industries and enterprises with a strong capacity to create jobs, thereby expanding employment opportunities.”

As for ensuring employment in 2024, over 66 percent of the respondents advocated for improving employment channels and the entrepreneurial environment.

Additionally, more than 59 percent of the respondents believe the country needs to further “encourage enterprises to create jobs,” “support and assist job seekers in taking grassroots positions,” and “support state-owned enterprises in expanding employment” to aid fresh graduates and disadvantaged groups in securing employment or starting their own businesses.

Rural vitalization ranked third among the top issues listed in the survey.

Among the measures devised to thoroughly upgrade rural industries, “cultivating famous brands with local characteristics,” “enhancing the quality and efficiency of agricultural product processing,” and “boosting the aggregation and upgrading of featured industries” attracted the most attention from internet users.

More than 50 percent of the surveyed internet users favored “implementing premium projects for rural leisure tourism,” “developing new types of services in rural areas,” and “advancing the development of rural e-commerce.”

Other popular suggestions included lowering drug prices, strengthening support for employment stabilization, improving the network of community-based home care services for older people, promoting the integrated development of rural and urban areas for balanced educational development, and further improving the quality and capacity of community services.