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29 Dec, 2012

China Seeks to Build People’s Gross National Happiness

Yan Bing, Pang Sheng, Zhou Yongbing

December 27, 2012, (People’s Daily Overseas Edition) – 2012 has been an eventful year for China and the rest of the world. Many topics are worth noting, including the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Chinese dreams, Mo Yan’s Nobel literature win, the remote national college entrance examination, and aircraft carrier style. They all point to an ultimate topic – happiness.

Mo Yan was asked whether he was happy when awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. A ranking of cities by happiness aroused widespread discussion on this topic. Partially free expressways encouraged people to travel happily. The public have actively discussed and thought about happiness, and the Chinese government has also taken the people’s happiness as its goal.

“People’s yearning for a beautiful life is the goal for us to strive for,” said Xi Jinping, the newly elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. The Chinese dream of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation means happiness for all Chinese people.

Improving people’s well-being and happiness

During the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays this year, China Central Television broadcast a special survey on the question “Are you happy?” for nine consecutive days in prime time starting Sept. 29. The program features the people’s authentic answers to the question, and aroused widespread public discussion on happiness.

The central and local governments have introduced a series of measures in 2012 to further improve the people’s livelihoods and make them happier. It was stated in the government work report in March that the country would spend 4 percent of its gross domestic product on education. New guidelines on major disease insurance covering both urban and rural residents were issued in August. Small vehicles were allowed to pass expressway toll stations free of charge during the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays for the first time.

Furthermore, the country met its 2012 social housing target ahead of time. Construction of more than 7.2 million social housing units started in cities and towns in the first 10 months of the year, of which, more than 5 million units had been completed.

“Public happiness is the happiness people obtain from public goods, and the government is the main provider of such happiness,” said Zhang Xiaode, deputy director of the Department of Economics at the Chinese Academy of Governance.

Chinese dream, the foundation of happiness

Everyone wants happiness and has a dream to pursue a better life, but personal development is inseparable from the development and progress of the country and personal happiness is closely linked with the national dream.

What is the “Chinese Dream?” General Secretary Xi Jinping had pointed out when he visited the “Road to Revival” exhibition at the National Museum on Nov. 29 that the realization of great rejuvenation of Chinese nation is the greatest dream of Chinese nation in modern times.

Deputy Director with the International Institute for Strategic Studies under the Central Party School of China Zhou Tianyong had described “Chinese Dream” like this: Everyone lives and works in peace and contentment through hard work and plain living; every Chinese works and lives in beautiful and clear environment.

Chinese Dream comes from hard work

In order to achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in 2020, the 18th CPC National Congress said that the gross domestic product and per capita income of urban and rural residents of 2010 will be doubled in 2020, meanwhile achieving synchronous development of residents’ income and national economy and increasing payment of labor and labor productivity simultaneously.

Xi said “Empty talks jeopardize a nation while hard work rejuvenates the nation” when visiting the “Road to Revival” exhibition in the National Museum on Nov. 29, which has formed a strong consensus in the whole society.

“Without the progress of China, it will be harder for common people to realize their dreams,” professor at department of Chinese language and literature under Peking University Zhang Yiwu said, “Without the solid efforts of ordinary people to realize their dreams, China is impossible to become progressive and prosperous.”

Happiness means a better life for common people and “Chinese Dream” means the great rejuvenation of Chinese nation, the long-cherished wish of generations of Chinese people and the foundation of a happy life. Labor creates personal happiness and hard work makes Chinese dream come true. The eternal pursue of happiness does not just rest on 2012 and people will continue it in the coming years.