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In a booming economy, food standards are falling behind

By RJ Whitehead , 07-Dec-2012
Last updated on 07-Dec-2012 at 16:10 GMT

The Chinese have given a vote of confidence to their government's public services, while at the same time voicing criticism about the quality of what they eat.

A survey measuring how people feel about basic public services in China found that food safety was just one of two services that scored below three points on a five-point scale, highlighting that security incidents and food safety scandals have reduced people's confidence in recent years.

The results of the survey, conducted from 8,070 responses, were released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in a report, and they sum up people's degrees of satisfaction with infrastructure, public security, social security, medical and health services, education and environmental protection.

Although the rest of the categories received passing scores, as China has expanded investment in education and infrastructure in the country's western regions and rural areas, there are still some problems of imbalance, said CASS research fellow Wu Ying, one of the report’s compilers.

The satisfaction scores were calculated according to five degrees, ranging from one to five points, with one being "extremely dissatisfied" and five being "very satisfied."

Earlier this week, CASS speculated that the Chinese economy would surpass the government’s goal of 7.5% growth for 2012, and then expand by 8.2% next year. 

Indeed, the government seems to share the view of the think tank, with Yi Gang, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China announcing: “Next year’s growth rate will be similar to, or will be slightly higher than that of this year.”

The official—and seemingly conservative—target for growth next year is expected to be close to 7.5%.

For the first nine months of this year, gross domestic product grew 7.7% year on year—although this rate fell to 7.4% for the July-September summer period, but since growth has recovered with production and exports picking up since autumn.

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