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. 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:

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?


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

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!!~


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

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):


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:


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。

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!

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 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.


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