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8 Dec, 2012

Chinese ‘Top 10 Concerns’ Survey Reflects People’s Anxiety

HEFEI, ( Xinhua) 2012-12-07 – A survey on what Chinese men and women worry about these days has revealed a gender divide, as male respondents reported worrying about not having enough money while female respondents said they fret about aging.

Twenty million Internet users responded to the survey carried out by Chinese search engine Baidu, which found that careers, relationships and even the status of privacy in the Digital Age are among respondents’ top concerns.

Nearly 2.9 million men reported that their top concern is not having enough money, and more than 2.7 million women said they’re most worried about getting old, according to the survey results.

Chen Qingliang, a migrant worker born in the 1980s, has been working in Hefei, provincial capital of Anhui, for over six years. He said there is not much room for him to receive a promotion or a raise, and his top concerns stem from economic pressure.

“In China, the man is a family’s breadwinner, so the most worrisome thing for me is running out of money, especially considering the current price hikes,” Cheng said. “It is widely recognized that wealth means success for Chinese men.”

Besides financial concerns, men also worry about failing in their careers, losing face in front of others and picking the wrong side in office politics. Age and appearance, which are among women’s top concerns, did not crack the men’s top ten list.

Zheng Lei, a journalist working in Beijing, was surprised that health is not among men’s top concerns. “I’m not afraid of being poor, although I want to be rich, too. I’m more concerned about health,” said Zheng, adding that his career has led to a lot of stress.

Meanwhile, the survey shows that women attach more attention to relationships than men. Married women worry about their husbands having affairs, while unmarried women worry about being left without a husband. Fears of ghosts and a lack of a sense of security are among women’s top ten concerns, but, unlike men, they are not concerned about not having enough money.

Some netizens have cast doubt on whether the survey results are accurate, as the respondents, all young netizens, may not have taken the survey seriously and cannot represent the majority of Chinese people.

More netizens, however, agreed that Internet survey results are more convincing than those obtained through in-person questionnaires or telephone interviews because people are more willing to tell the truth online.

Zhang Zhi’an, a professor in new media analysis with Sun Yat-sen University, said the lists show the anxiety many young Chinese are experiencing. “Most young people are in the lower levels of society, and the lists reflect their anxiety over a society full of fierce competition,” said Zhang.

Wang Kaiyu, a famous sociologist in Anhui, said the survey results also show the dry sense of humor young people take on when talking about what they really want. He  said the concerns are all related to daily life, and the survey should have been called “the most wanted list,” instead.

“Through the survey, we can see that Chinese young people just want a happy family and to live with dignity. It has always been their dream, as well as a target for the government.”