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China: Recently, Can You Afford Meat?

“Recently, can you afford meat?” Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao asked when he visited a group of poor people living in an old residential area of Beijing. On the very next day, the National Bureau of Statistics reported that China's October inflation rate had reached 6.5 percent which was the highest during the last 10 years. Additionally, the food prices jumped 17.6 percent compared to the same month in 2006, while the price of pork, a staple for Chinese people, soared 54.9 percent.

Although Huanqiu Zaixian (环球在线), subordinate to China Daily which is the first and only national English paper in China, preached Wen's visit “let the people live more comfortably”, public voices from Internet were different in their tones. QQ.com has started a discussion in the recent food price increase with an eye-catching title: “Recently, can you afford meat?

Until Friday, the number of comments has reached 4766, in which people expressed their own views on Wen's visit and other news related to the soaring consumer prices:

作者:游客
甘肃金昌。现在猪肉五花肉13。后腿肉14。精肉15 .牛肉13.羊肉14.而且菜价没有低于一圆钱以下的.比往年这个季节高出一倍还多.这还不算其它物价上涨.涨,涨,涨都在涨就是工资不涨.不知这些东西还涨不?

Author: guest
In Jinchang Gansu Province, the streaky pork is 13RMB (per half kilogram), pork of hind leg 14RMB, fine pork 15RMB, beef 13RMB, mutton 14RMB and all the vegetable prices are above 1 RMB which is higher more than 1 time the same season before. And some other item prices also increase. Increasing, increasing, increasing, everything is increasing except the wages. Will all of those continue increasing?

作者:游客
我一个月工资就1000.公务员2000多.咱老百姓能吃肉吗?

Author: guest
I can only earn 1000RMB a month and the officials can make more than 2000RMB. Can we common people afford meat?

作者:游客
作秀!!! 我一个月就800块,除了交房租,我连饭都吃不起了!!还说肉!??? 我是一个大学毕业生!!~

Author: guest
It's a show!!! I get 800RMB a month, so after paying for the rent, I can hardly afford the regular meals!!! How can I think of meat!??? I am a university graduate!!~

作者:游客
为什么各地区生活物价水平都差不多高,可工资水平拉巨这么大,最低生活老金大城市一千多可中小城市才六七佰.太不公平了.

Author: gust
Why is that the consumer prices are almost the same in different regions, but the salary gap is so large? The minimum pension is more than 1000RMB in big cities but in the small and medium cities it would be only 600 or 700RMB. It's so unfair.

作者:游客
最近,什么都涨价,虽然说是食品类的东西涨价,但很多人就趁这个时候乱涨价,连衣服都涨价。涨来涨去,我觉得,最难过的还是农民。粮食涨价是有好处,但,其它东西都在涨价,对于农民来是,我觉得根本就没多大用处了。肉价那么高,不吃肉是不可能的,但,我明显感觉到,多数人,也就是多数农民都不多吃了。唉,这到底是怎么回事我也不清楚,但,总让人很担忧的感觉,涨价的速度太快了,未免有些离谱。

Author: guest
Recently, everything is increasing in price. Although the spike is mainly happening in the foodstuff area, a lot of people take advantage of the trend and hike up other prices arbitrarily, even including clothes. With the soaring price, I think it's famers that have suffered the most. The grain price increasing does benefit them, but the prices of many other things are also rising, so to the farmers, they actually get nothing from the inflation. Despite the high price of meat, it's impossible to completely stop eating it, but I definitely feel that to most of the people, especially the farmers, they can't eat meat as much as before. Alas, I can't figure out all of these things, but the situation does make people worried. It's terrible to see the consumer prices increase so sharply.

作者:游客
总理有信心就好。其实再大的问题都可以解决,只要有信心。所以要相信我们社会现有的大问题在不久的将来都会解决。不要说等得太久,大家也要有耐心才行。有个老太太买彩票,买了50年终于中了大奖,要不是有耐心,她能发那大财吗?相信吧,司法腐败,物价暴涨,青年失业,犯罪增加,豆渣教育,豆渣工程,这些都会解决的。我相信不到100年,这些大问题都不会再让人民揪心。

Author: guest
It's nice too see Premier's confidence. In fact, we can solve any problems as long as we have confidence. So we must believe the current big social problems will be all solved in the near future. We should not wait too long but everyone should also have some patience. An old woman kept buying lottery tickets for 50 years and finally won a grand prize. Without patience, could she make it? Believe it that the judicial corruption, price booms, young unemployment, high project, jerry-built education and projects will be solved. I believe, less than 100 years, all of those big issues will not bother people any more.

作者:游客
我们新疆的企业职工工资是每月700_900元,物价却在飞涨,工资一分都没加,怎样生活?只能吃青菜了.”肉”?夜里做梦想一下还可以.

Author: guest
We workers of enterprises in Xinjiang province are on a salary of 700-900RMB a month. Even though the consumer prices are soaring, our wages do not increase any more. How can we live a life now? The only choice is only eating vegetables. Meat? We can think of it in the night dreams.

作者:耿子痞
天天物价涨,前一个星期还是5角二个小包子,今早一去7角二个,天天说工资上涨,反而我们这帮打工仔涨的不是工资,而是物价上涨,还是大学毕业的,领那几百块钱工资,还被别人取笑:读大学出来有什么用,连自己都养不了!!贫富拉距越来越大,对这社会真是心酸!

Author:Geng Zipi
The prices are increasing in every day. Last week two small stuffed buns sold for 5 jiao (1 jiao=0.1RMB) and this morning the price has jumped to 7 jiao. It's said all day that the wages are going to increase. Paradoxically, what increase to us temporary employees are only consumer prices. Additionally, I'm a graduate with a salary of some hundred RMB which is laughed at by others. To go to university is totally useless, because I can't even feed myself!! The gap between the rich and poor is greater and greater. I feel so distressed about the society!

作者:游客
看着这个标题都郁闷,去年的这个时候我还周末在家自己灌香肠吃那,买肉一次怎么不买个5斤10斤的,但是今年从5、6月份到现在炖骨头只吃了1次,而这之前是1-2周1次。随便买一点肉都觉得心疼。以前我们买肉都是去超市,现在到农贸市场也不舍得多买。 唯一好的是现在去超市买鸡蛋没有多少人排队了,前提是鸡蛋价格比去年同期涨了将近100%,至少也是50%以上。

Author: guest
Just the title can make me depressed. At the same time of last year I could still cook sausages at home on the weekend and each time I bought meat I'll take at least 5 or 10 jin (1 jin=0.5 kilogram), but this year, by now I only ate the bone stew for one time from May or June, before which I would eat it once every one or two weeks. No matter to buy how much meat, it will make us reluctant. In the past, we always went to the supermarket to buy meat while now we went to the farmer's open market and can't buy too much. The only advantage now is we don't have to stand in line to buy eggs in the super market. The condition is the egg price has risen by almost 100 percent than the same time of last year, at least more than 50 percent.

In spite of the current price hike which have strongly affected Chinese people's daily life, the mainstream media in China keep quoting some economists’ opinions, claiming that the situation is not as serious as people think and China is not trapped in a nationalwide inflation but a reasonable structural price rise. “The new index data of consumer price in October is not unexpected. According to the range of price rise, it's only the foodstuff especially the meat, poultry and egg prices that go up too fast and the increase rate of non-foodstuff price remains an extremely low level of 1 percent. So, the current consumer price rise is structural but not an overall inflation making people insufferable,” reported China Securities Journal, which is sponsored by Xinhua News Agency.

Blogger Alan titled one of his articles by “Premier, thank you for asking but I still can't afford meat” and showed his criticisms on the mainstream media's opinions about consumer price index (CPI):

……
物价连连上涨不是自然灾害,用总理的一点可以让人落泪的问候是解决不了问题的。砖家们的声音是那么的令人颤抖。某首席经济学家说道:尽管CPI上涨了,但是核心CPI还是安全的。就是说尽管你得了乳腺癌,但是你暂时还死不了,赶紧把乳房割了,你还是可能活的。就是说马马虽然到了悬崖,但是还没有掉下去,暂时还不着急去拉的
……


The continuing increase of consumer price is not a nature disaster. The problem will not be solved by Premier's a little moving regards. The experts’ voices make people so shocked. Some chief economists said: Although the CPI rises, the CPI at the core is still safe. That is to say though you have got breast cancer, you will not die temporarily, and by cutting the breast you may still keep alive. That is to say the horse has reached the edge of cliff, not falling yet, so temporarily we don't have to be anxious to curb the halter.

In blogchina, Cai Shenkun, who used to work in trades such as the media, real estate, finance, securities, movie & TV, etc. for many years, directly pointed out that China is faced a serious inflation that should not be covered up:

针对我国价格总水平出现大幅上涨等涉及民生的问题,无论是发改委还是统计局,都异口同声地宣称目前物价上涨不是全面通货膨胀,只是结构性上涨。让我们来回顾一下今年CPI的大致走势。5月,CPI增速首次越过3%的年初预定线,达到3.4%;6、7、8月一路由4.4%达到令人瞠目结舌的6.5%;9月份微降为6.2%,10月份再度抬头。

可以说,到今天,保守的数据已经明确告诉我们,通胀不但存在,而且已经非常严重。无视通货膨胀的严重性,其实就是无视民众的疾苦。可以毫不含糊地说,现在的物价上涨已经全方位影响百姓的生活生计了:比如,食品类价格同比涨17.6% ,其中猪肉价格上涨54.9%,连最基本的食盐价格都大升了40%。面对如此坚挺的升势,还对通胀玩弄词汇,说什么“风险”、“压力”,“结构”之类不关疼痒的话,不但不实事求是,甚至是对百姓和民生的漠视。
……
对于来势汹汹的通胀危机,经济学家郎咸平指出:“粮油等牵涉基本民生的支出通胀的深层原因,乃是内地腐败势力的大量存在。腐败势力为牟求私利而不择手段用公币投资,导致经济畸形过热,使国家经济出现结构性危机,最终令全体人民不得不每吃一餐都要多付百分之十几的支出来为腐败埋单。”
……
尽管国务院总理温家宝也对物价问题亲自过问,几度上街临市问价,宽慰民心。国家发改委也发出通知,一方面要求各地政府不得干预物价,另一方面要求市场主体不能价格垄断、联合提价。然而,面对歇斯底里的经济和社会走势,政府显然已无计可施,所能动用的政策手段似乎越来越少。

As to the overall price increasing in our country and other problems related to people's life, both NDRC (National Development and Reform Commission) and NBSC (National Bureau of Statistics of China) declared that the present rise of consumer prices is not an overall inflation, but only structural increase. Let's review the rough tendency of CPI of this year. In May, the CPI increasing rate came to 3.4%, firstly exceeding 3% which was the scheduled level at the beginning of this year; in June, July and August the rate surprisingly jumped from 4.4% to 6.5% and then slightly dropped to 6.2%. In October, the rate rose again.
.
We can say, until today, the conservative data has clearly told us not only does inflation exist, but has been very serious. To disregard the severity of inflation is actually a neglect of people's sufferings. Obviously, the present rise of consumer price has thoroughly affected people's life and livelihood: for example, the foodstuff prices increased by 17.6% compared with the same period of last year, while among them the price of pork went up by 54.9% and even the most basic salt had soared 40%. Being faced with such a strong uptrend, the authorities still played with vocabulary on the inflation, saying some “risks”, “pressure” and “structure” such trivial words. It's not only an action that flies in the face of facts but even an indifference to people's livelihood.

Regarding the violent surge of inflation crisis, economist Lang Xianping indicated: ” the deep reason of expenditure inflation of the basic necessities like grain, oil etc, is the existence of large amount of corruption in mainland. In order to seek private profit, the corrupt force make the investment with public money by hook or crook, causing the economy abnormally overheat and making national economy appear structural crisis. Finally, all the people have to pay more than ten percent than usual in each meal for the corruption bills.

Although Wen Jiabao, the Premier of State Council, paid his close attention to the price problems and repeatedly went to the streets and markets to inquire prices in an effort to soothe the public, and the NDRC on one hand required the local governments not to interfere with the consumer prices and on the other hand asked the market players not to monopolize or jointly lift the prices, faced with hysterical tendency of economy and society, the government has been clearly at it's wits’ end and has fewer and fewer policy means to use.

Because of the soaring consumer prices, sales promotion more or less has become a hot focus in people's life. A discount activity will sometimes attract a large amount of people and even cause chaos. Blogger Fenghuang Shunǚ (means phoenix lady) expressed her concerns on a recent tragedy happening in a supermarket:

10日上午,重庆沙坪坝区家乐福商场内,发生一起因争抢特价食用油造成的踩踏伤亡事故。目前已造成3人死亡,31人受伤。有3名轻伤人员已出院回家,7名危重伤员仍在全力抢救。据悉,有关此次事故的调查取证工作也同期展开。(11月11日人民网) 重庆家乐福卖场为了促销而降底10块钱,以39.90元的价格卖掉原来需要50块一桶的菜油,为了这减少的10块钱,就有上千人去排队,最后演变成一场人和人的踩踏,最终酿成一场悲剧.
……
…… 我觉得,此次最大的问题,是暴露出来人们、尤其是下岗、待业、退休人员对物价上涨过快表现出的强烈反弹,因为他们收入不高,在其他人眼睛里不起眼的十块钱,连一包好烟都买不起,但对他们来说,就是一家人的两顿饭,或者是几斤大米,多少个馒头。最近物价涨的太快了,蔬菜、猪肉、食油轮番涨,老百姓心理承受有了压力,为了不至于让自己一家人生活水平下降太大,这些人只好去排队,去挤,没想到,有的人为此而付出生命。这真是悲剧!
……
重庆家乐福踩死人的恶性事件,是给政府和管理部门敲的警钟,仅仅是为了区区10块钱,就出现抢购,拥挤和踩踏失去了好几个人的生命,并踩伤了那么多人,如果物价继续上涨,那么不知道还为了抢购什么东西再踩到人呢!这物价上涨的速度已经超过了群众的基本生活承受力,也超过了群众的心理承受力,对人们心理产生了压力甚至恐慌,这一点才是我们需要认真注意的问题。

On the morning of November 10, 3 persons died and 31 injured when people thronged Carrefour supermarket to grab a discounted rapeseed oil in Sha Pingba district, Chong Qing. There are 3 slightly injured people who have already left hospital and go home. 7 severely injured are still under emergency rescue. Allegedly, the related investigation has started at the same time. (November 11 People.com) For sales promotion, Chongqing Carrefour supermarket sold a kind of rapeseed oil which valued at 50RMB per barrel by 39.90RMB, cutting 10RMB. For the reducing 10RMB, more than one thousand people went to purchase the oil and then the shopping rush caused chaos, finally becoming a tragedy.

…I think, the greatest lesson exposed in this accident is people, especially those laid-off, unemployed or retired workers had given a strong reaction to the spike prices. In other people’s eyes, ten yuan is not a big deal which even can not buy a packet of good cigarettes, but to those who have a low income, ten yuan means two meals for a family, amounts of rice or a number of steamed buns. Recently, the consumer prices are rising too fast while vegetables, pork and cooking oil are increasing in relays, which definitely makes the ordinary people bear pressures. To maintain the family’s living standard, those people have to stand in line and rush to the crowd, but unexpectedly, someone died for this. It’s a tragedy!

The malignant accident in Chongqing Carrefour is a warning for the government and administrative department. Just 10RMB could cause panic buying, crowd and chaos which made some persons lose the life and a group of people injured. If the prices continue rising, I don’t know how many people will be hurt in the shopping rush! The increasing rate of consumer price has been beyond people’s basic bearing capacity of living and psychology, causing pressures and even scare. That is a problem for us to seriously deal with.

3 comments

  • Rex

    The high inflation rate shows that the economy of china is in dangerous.

  • […] the same time, the income level for many people has remained the same. According to a recent post on Global Voices, it has become increasingly difficult for those who earn only a few hundred RMB […]

  • […] Shenkun offeriert in seinem Blog (teilweise hier ins englische übersetzt) eine viel erschreckendere […]

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