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Rich-poor gap China's top future concern: survey

BEIJING -- Most Chinese see the widening income gap as the country's main problem over the next decade, according to a survey published Tuesday which highlighted a key challenge confronting the incoming leadership.

Some 75 percent of respondents polled by the official China Youth Daily cited “serious rich-poor divide” as the issue most likely to hinder the country's development over the next 10 years, the paper said.

The online nationwide survey covered more than 11,400 people born between 1970 and 1999, the newspaper said.

Delegates of the ruling Communist Party are convening this week to anoint the next leaders of a country that in just a few decades has risen from abject poverty to the world's second-largest economy.

But income inequality is one of the issues that could intensify already high social tensions.

Another survey conducted jointly by the central bank and a Chinese university and published in May showed that the income of China's richest 10 percent of families accounted for 57 percent of total household income.

The China Youth Daily survey found other problems worrying average people included “unfettered public power” and the growing power of “interest groups.”

The newspaper did not identify the interest groups it referred to. In China the term usually refers to state-owned monopolies and family members or friends of government officials who use connections to advance and acquire wealth.

A worsening environment, slowing economic growth, strained international relations and an aging population were among other concerns cited.

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