Asia-Pacific

Social discontent rising in China, says report

A Chinese boy struggles to balance a bicycle loaded up with grasses for animal feed
Image caption China is fast moving from an agricultural society to an industrial one, say researchers

Social discontent in China has markedly increased this year, according to one of the country's top think tanks.

People in small towns and rural areas are becoming especially dissatisfied with their lives, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences says.

Some key indicators show that in China overall satisfaction with jobs, social security, and leisure provisions has reached the lowest point since 2006.

People are worried about inflation and their personal future, researchers say.

In their annual Book of China's Society, the researchers paint a picture that is a far cry from the harmonious society the country's leadership trumpets.

Despite China's phenomenal growth, there has been a drop in people's confidence in the economy and in the government's ability to manage economic, social and international affairs.

The researchers put this down to the impact of the international financial crisis, rather than any widespread abuse of power or increasing restriction on moving up the social ladder.

They say that China is fast moving from an agricultural society to an industrial one, with more farmers leaving the land for the cities.

On the sensitive issue of income distribution, the researchers say the rate of wealth growth for the rural population will outstrip that of the cities this year, but the gap between rich and poor is still widening.