New social stratum looking for political voice

Updated: 2007-11-07 23:16

China's "new social stratum," a term officially used to label businessmen and professionals, is increasingly showing an interest in politics, the latest issue of a Communist Party of China (CPC) magazine said.

"They want to participate in political affairs and realize their political ambitions so that their interests can be protected and voices heard," said an investigative report in the weekly Study Times sponsored by the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

The concept of "new social stratum" was officially put forward by former Party leader and Chinese President Jiang Zemin in his speech to mark the 80th anniversary of the founding of the CPC in 2001.

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"New social stratum" includes private entrepreneurs, technicians and managerial staff in private or foreign-funded companies and the self-employed and employees in intermediate organizations.

A recent survey made in Changzhou, in East China's Jiangsu Province and a city known for its booming private businesses, showed that 84.06 percent of new social stratum members considered their participation in political affairs to be important but insufficient, with much room for improvement.

In Shenzhen in the southern Guangdong Province where China's economic reform first started, only 19 percent of the surveyed new social stratum were satisfied with their participation in political affairs while 73.2 percent chose "so-so" and "not good".

Among them, 55.6 percent of technicians in private companies in Shenzhen felt they did not have a "smooth" access to politics.

Most complaints were about not having enough smooth channels for them to participate in political affairs. For example, members of new social stratum, who traditionally have few links with political circles, may have had few chances to attend meetings convened by the government or Party, said the report.

Some from the new social stratum become deputies to the people's congresses and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Other professionals have worked as prosecutors and auditors in judicial and government departments.

However, these are mostly for the practice of individuals, said the report.

According to the report, China's new social stratum mainly wanted to solve problems instead of promoting new political ideas through their political efforts. They spoke about the policy of registered permanent residence and against the wrong-doings of officials and the bureaucracy of government departments.

Those elected into the NPC, China's top legislature, made motions about social development, city planning and public services, the magazine said.

China's new social stratum is estimated to number 50 million and own or manage about 10 trillion yuan (US$1.34 trillion) of capital, according to the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee.

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