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Study: Chinese middle class still attached to status quo

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BEIJING — President Xi Jinping calls it his "China Dream" — a vision of a cohesive, equal society, increasingly wealthy and healthy, and happily wedded to Communist Party rule, ardent patriotism and traditional values. That vision, splashed on television and billboards everywhere here, has driven Mr. Xi's vow that under his administration, Chinese society will become more equal and just.

北京——习近平将其称为他的"中国梦"——一个有凝聚力的平等社会,日益富裕,健康状况不断改善,乐见共产党的统治,热切追求爱国主义和传统价值观。这一设想在这里的电视和街头广告牌上随处可见,为习近平的誓言助威。他宣称:在他的治理下,中国社会将变得更加公正平等。

But two new studies from institutes in Beijing suggest that while Chinese people remain wedded, though not always blissfully, to the status quo, Mr. Xi confronts a persistent undercurrent of discontent with inequality in incomes, schooling opportunities and health care. That social strain could become troublesome, especially if the economy continues to falter.

不过,北京的研究机构有两项新研究表明,虽然中国民众依然安于现状——尽管并不总是十分满意——但习近平却面临着不满情绪带来的一股持续暗流:收入、教育机会和医疗保健等领域的不平等。在经济继续疲软的情况下,这种社会压力可能会带来麻烦。

"In the future, Chinese society will face a series of stern challenges," said the China Family Panel Studies 2015 report, produced by the Institute of Social Science Survey at Peking University.

中国家庭追踪调查(China Family Panel Studies)的2015年度报告称:"将来,中国社会将面临一系列严峻的挑战。"该报告由北京大学中国社会科学调查中心撰写。


"At the same time that our nation's total wealth has rapidly grown, there are increasingly pronounced imbalances in Chinese society," it said. "This is reflected not only in the polarization of incomes and wealth, but also in plainly observable disparities in education, health and other social protections."

"在我们国家财富总额迅速增长的同时,中国社会的不平衡日益突出,"报告中写道。"这不仅是体现在收入和财富两极化上,在教育、卫生和其他社会保障领域也能清楚地观察到不平等。"

Mr. Xi and his prime minister, Li Keqiang, have said that overcoming these social imbalances is a priority. But the report, drawing on the results of an annual survey covering more than 35,000 adults and 13,000 families, warns that more needs to be done.

习近平和总理李克强一直表示,当务之急是克服这些社会不平衡。但这份报告提醒人们,还有更多的工作需要完成。报告根据一项年度调查的结果撰写,涵盖了逾3.5万名成人和1.3个家庭。

"These problems demand effective solutions," the report said. "Otherwise, it is very possible that they will threaten social stability and become a bottleneck in social and economic development."

"这些问题需要得到有效的解决,"文中提到。"否则,它们很可能会威胁到社会稳定,成为社会经济发展的瓶颈。"

The study has created waves, with news reports citing its conclusion that the top 1 percent of Chinese households possess one-third of the country's domestic wealth, while the bottom quarter of households holds 1 percent. But, in fact, that finding had already been reported in last year's study, and the bulk of this year's report focuses on access to housing, education and health care.

这项研究引起了不少反响。有新闻报道引用它的结论:中国收入最高的1%家庭拥有全国三分之一的国内财富,而收入最低的四分之一家庭只有1%。其实这一发现已在去年的研究中体现了,而今年报告的重点是获得住房、教育和医疗服务的机会。

The study shows that, as in all societies, family background plays a powerful role in determining people's level of schooling, especially parents' educational attainment. But in China, political privilege is also an important factor. Whether your father is a member of the Communist Party — almost mandatory for government officials — is a powerful determinant of educational attainment, even, the study found, for Chinese born after 1980 under the market-oriented policies of Deng Xiaoping.

研究表明,家庭背景在决定人的教育水平中起到巨大作用,特别是父母的教育程度,这是所有社会共有的。但在中国,政治特权也是重要因素。父亲是否为共产党员——政府官员几乎必须是党员——是你教育程度的一个决定性因素。研究发现,甚至对于在邓小平以市场为本的政策下于1980年以后出生的中国人而言,情况也是如此。

"Having a father who is a party member also has a clear, positive effect on an individual's years of schooling," the study said. (A mother's party membership status has no discernible impact, it also found.)

"父亲是党员也对个人的教育年限有明显的正面影响,"研究报告称。(研究发现,母亲是否拥有党员身份没有明显影响。)

Discrimination against girls has weakened, but it remains a powerful factor in the opportunity for schooling, the study also found. On average, boys receive 1.5 more years of schooling than girls.

研究还发现,虽然对女生的歧视有所减弱,但这仍然是影响她们接受教育机会的重要因素。平均而言,男生上学年限比女孩多一年半。

Unequal access to health care has also been a source of dissatisfaction for many Chinese, especially residents of the countryside and small towns where medical insurance has been less widely available and where there are fewer doctors and hospitals.

对很多中国人来说,特别是农村和小城镇居民,医疗机会不平等也一直是滋生不满情绪的一个原因。这些地区的医疗保险覆盖面较窄,医生和医院也较少。

The survey found that the Chinese government's efforts to spread health insurance had made a difference. Growing numbers of rural residents have some, though it is usually not as generous as policies held by many city dwellers. And women also do worse than men.

这项调查发现,中国政府在扩展医疗保险方面的努力起到了一定作用。越来越多的农村居民享受到了一些医保,但通常不及许多城市居民享有的政策优厚。而且,女性比男性获益少。

"Females, rural residents and low-income groups all enjoy fewer health care subsidies and pay a higher proportion by themselves," the study said.

"女性、农村居民和低收入群体享有的医疗补贴较少,自付比例较高,"文中指出。

The professionals, managers, white-collar workers and business owners who make up China's middle class are a source of hope and anxiety for the nation's leaders. If its numbers, incomes and satisfaction grow, this middle class could remain a stabilizing pillar of Communist Party governance. But if this wealthier, educated urban stratum becomes unhappy, then the party's grip could weaken.

组成中国中产阶级的专业人士、管理人员、白领员工和业主既承载了国家领导人的希望,也代表了他们的焦虑。如果这群人的规模、收入和满意度增加,中产阶级可以持续成为共产党统治的稳定支柱。但是,倘若这群较为富裕的受过教育的城市阶层变得不满,那么党对权力的掌控便可能会削弱。

For now, most members of the Chinese middle class appear attached, for the most part, to the status quo, the Peking University study suggests. The notion that wealthier urbanites are poised to challenge party rule appears unfounded, even taking into account that many people in China may be reluctant to criticize the government, even in surveys.

北京大学的研究说明,就目前而言,中国大多数中产阶级似乎在大多数情况下安于现状。就算考虑到很多中国人可能不愿意批评政府,尽管是在调查里,也没有依据表明较富裕的城市居民有意挑战党的统治。

The study found that about 60 percent of respondents who identified as belonging to the "upper middle stratum" of society had a positive view of their local government's performance. By contrast, 48 percent of those who put themselves in the lowest stratum held a positive view.

研究发现,自认为属于社会"中上阶层"的应答者当中,60%对当地政府的表现持正面看法。相比之下,自认为属于最底层级的人当中,这一数据则为48%。

"Compared to the working class, and especially workers in the state sector, China's middle class has a more positive assessment of perceptions of the rich-poor gap, trustworthiness of officials and government performance," the study said. "The middle class has the potential to become a social stabilizer."

"比起工薪阶级,特别是国有部门的员工,中国中产阶级对于贫富差距、官员可信度和政府表现的评价更为正面,"文中指出。"中产阶层有望成为社会稳定力量。"

That could change. A separate survey of more than 3,000 people published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences found that middle-class Chinese are more politically engaged than other members of society.

但这也有可能发生变化。中国社会科学院发布的覆盖逾3000人的另一项调查发现,中国中产阶级要比社会其他成员更积极地参与政治事务。

The survey, conducted across 12 months from late 2014 and published in the academy's 2016 "blue book" of social issues, found that 42.6 percent of middle-class respondents in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou said they discussed politics with those around them. Just 27.7 percent of people not in the middle class said they did so.

此项调查自2014年底开始进行了12个月,结果发表在社科院的2016年《社会蓝皮书》上。调查发现,北京、上海和广州的中产阶级应答者当中,42.%的人表示,会与身边人讨论政治。只有27.7%的非中产阶级成员做出同样表示。

2016-06-23

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