CHINA> Regional
Security fears mount amid downturn
By Zhan Lisheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-12-27 08:49

GUANGZHOU: Residents in the provincial capital of Guangdong are becoming increasingly concerned about public security as the impact of the global financial crisis snowballs, according to a survey by think tank.

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The Guangzhou Public Opinion Research Center poll found 51.7 percent of respondents were worried that diminished incomes and growing unemployment will weaken public security.

Another 35.5 percent fear social disturbances, according to the survey of 1,000 residents conducted in mid-December.

The survey also found 81.9 percent of respondents claimed their income or employment had been affected by the crisis. Of these, 30.9 percent said the impact was severe, while 51 percent had been "influenced to some extent".

In addition, 32.3 percent of respondents said the financial crisis had made it difficult for them to find jobs, while 17.5 percent said they had been laid off because of the crisis.

Also, 55.9 percent said the crisis had shrunk their incomes, and 42.2 percent said they had begun trimming expenditures.

Su Huaying, an analyst with the research center, said the global financial crisis had also psychologically impacted residents.

"Citizens are more anxious than ever before," she said.

"Their worries include inflation, income declines, job losses and deterioration of public order, among many other uncertainties."

She pointed out 67.7 percent of those surveyed were worried about price hikes, while 60.7 percent were concerned about lowered incomes, and 38 percent feared losing their jobs.

Tan Xinyu, a marketing manager with a foreign-funded logistics firm in Guangzhou, said the financial crisis' affect on him and his colleagues was evident.

"Our business has dwindled by at least 30 percent in the past half year, which has naturally caused our incomes to decline," he told China Daily.

"I hear our company is considering downsizing its operation. What I really worry about is that it would be extremely difficult to find a new job once laid off."

Lin Suying, a retired professor with South China Normal University in her 60s, fears public security will diminish, especially as the Chinese New Year approaches.

"Guangzhou's public security tends to worsen at the end of the year, and, as the number of the jobless surges, I'm afraid more people will steal, rob or even burgle to make money before returning home for the grand festival."

She said the government should act to resolve the unemployment problem to counter the threat of social disturbances.

"I learned from my granddaughter that it's much more difficult for university seniors or postgraduates to find a job than ever before. I'm afraid they will stir up trouble," she said.