China's Deplorable World Records

April 12, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: April 12, 2006 12:00 am

Despite China's fast booming economy in recent years, everyday Chinese people's standard of living has not improved. According to many media reports, China's internet gateway website,, published China's 12 “world records,” and calling them “disappointing.” These “world records” include two top records the world over. The first is that the highest rate of mining accidents and 80 percent of world mining deaths occur in China. The second is that China accounts for one quarter of the global suicides.

I: Evaluation on the fairness of Chinese medical treatment ranks fourth from last

In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) evaluated the fairness of public health resource organizations in the areas of raising and distributing funds among its fellow member countries. Specifically, where public health services' money originated, how has that money been used, and whether the poor in the populace are paying for the expenses of the rich. The results of this evaluation demonstrate that China is ranked in 188th place placing fourth from the last among the other 190 member countries in this organization.

The survey data also indicated each year nearly 50 percent of Chinese who should seek treatment, and 30 percent of Chinese citizens who seek admission to a hospital couldn't see a doctor for treatment, for various reasons.

II: Compared to incomes, the current Chinese university tuition fees are the highest in the world.

According to survey results, the tuition fee in Japan is the highest in the world with regard to the absolute value. Average annual education expense in Japan is around approximately US$13,580. However, considering the GDP per person, Japan's education expense equals 3,500 yuan (approximately US$432) per person in China. The current annual university tuition fee in China is over 10,000 yuan per student, which ranks it as the most expensive around the world when compared to gross incomes.

III: China has the widest income gap between rural and urban areas.

After many years of nationwide follow-up studies, the China Academy of Social Science Economic Research Institute delivered a survey report. This report demonstrates that considering factors such as medical treatment, education, and unemployment insurance, all of which are non-currency factors, China has the widest income gap between urban and rural areas around the world.

The report also explains an urban resident's disposable income is not restricted to covering various non-monetary subsidies. For example, many urban residents enjoy subsidized medical treatment that is unavailable to rural residents. The schools in urban areas also obtain substantial financing from the government but subsidies for schools in rural areas, in contrast, are very limited. Most commonly, local farmers have had to finance schooling themselves. In addition, urban residents also enjoy pensions, unemployment insurance, and a minimum living standard relief, all of which is far from what rural residents can expect. If all those factors are put into consideration, there is an estimated difference of between four to six times more income in the urban areas than in rural areas.

IV: China is ranked second worldwide in tax burden.

According to 2005 Forbes annual Tax Misery Index, China was ranked second.

V. China's Corruption Perception Index is ranked 71st in the World

Transparency International (TI) is a famous global, not-for-profit, anti-corruption organization, with headquarters in Berlin, Germany. TI started issuing annual Global Corruption Reports in 1995. The report calculates a Corruption Perception Index (“CPI”) for each country based on local enterprise and the public perception of corruption in the government. According to this report, China got a score of 3.4 out of 10 CPI in 2004, sharing the 71st ranking with South Africa and Syria.

VI. China's environmental sustainability index is one of the lowest in the world

During the 2005 World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, a report was issued on the Environmental Sustainability Index for each country. Among the 144 countries and regions surveyed, China was ranked 133rd.

VII. China has some of the most polluted air on Earth.

Mr. Qu Geping, the Chairman of China National People's Congress Environment and Resources Protection Committee, admitted publicly that China has some of the worst air pollution on earth.

According to a report issued by the World Health Organization last year, seven out of ten of the world's worst polluted cities were in China, including China's capital city Beijing. Taiyuan city in Shanxi province is considered the most polluted city in the world.

China's current atmospheric emissions of pollutants are dangerously high. Last year the sulphur dioxide emissions were as high as 21 million tons.

In addition, among the 300 cities currently under environmental monitoring in China, 70 percent of them were below the air quality standard, meaning they are not suitable for living.

VII. Eighty percent of all worldwide mining deaths occur in China.

As the world's biggest coal producer, China produced 1.66 billion tons of coal in 2004, 33.2 percent of world production. However, the total mining death toll in China reached 6,027 or 80 percent of the world total for 2004.

IX. China has the highest suicide rate in the world.

China's population totals around one-fifth of the world population, but its suicide rate is approximately 25 percent of all the world's total suicide cases, the highest rate in the world.

According to the 2003 statistics of China's Ministry of Public Health, each year in China there are at least 250,000 suicides, and 2 million attempted suicide cases. Statistics from other sources suggest the actual number could be higher. Currently in China, suicide is the fifth largest cause of death, and the first among people between the ages 15 and 34.

X. China has the highest administrative costs in the world.

Professor Du Gangjian of China National School of Administration said “China has the highest administrative cost in the world.” The main cause for high administrative costs is the administrative approval system. The complicated approval procedure causes unnecessarily large bureaucratic agencies. The oversized agencies generate large expenditures, reducing both the effectiveness and efficiency of the government as a whole.

XI. China has the most “crimes” punishable by death.

China continues to use the death penalty, and is the country with the highest number of capital “crimes” in the world. It was reported that in the Criminal Law issued in 1979, there are seven articles stating the 28 capital “crimes.” The Criminal Law Regulations and Supplement Rules provide 40 more capital charges in 29 articles. In total there are 68 charges one can receive the death penalty in China for.

XII. China has the largest illiterate or semi-literate population in the world.

China is the most populated country in the world. Its excess labor and population issues will be a long-term problem. In the meantime, China has the largest illiterate or semi-literate population in the world. Among people above 15 years old, there are 180 million people in China that are illiterate or semi-literate, which is 15.88 percent of China's total population.