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Print Edition> Opinion
UPDATED: April 9, 2007 NO.15 APR.12, 2007

Who Benefits From Price Hikes?

In recent years we have seen frequent price increases of daily necessities, increasing the burden on ordinary people. To the rich, the price increases may be insignificant, but for those who are struggling for survival, the extra money they pay out may just mean less to spend on education and health care.

The public never reject reasonable price adjustments. However, a host of price increases do not fall into the reasonable category. For example, electricity is not supposed to be used by individual departments as a tool to make large profits. Nevertheless, it is an open secret in China that this monopolized sector is making huge profits.

To ask the government to supervise and make known to the public the real cost of production in state-owned enterprises is the people's legitimate right. Besides. Even if the cost is really rising, price increases are not supposed to be the inevitable result, as the state should offer financial subsidies to compensate for these ongoing increases. If the government had to pay for the increased prices, would it then still be so easy for these monopolies to raise prices?

Guangzhou Daily

Female Discrimination

While the employment market proves increasingly tough for college graduates in general, the situation seems even more difficult for female students. It's becoming apparent that many employers reject or impose restrictions on female jobseekers. Some announce that they only accept male students, while others offer lower salaries to females. Faced with this biased employment market, many college girls have to sit for in postgraduate exams, hoping a Master's degree will make job hunting easier. Two or three years later, however, they only find themselves faced with the same unacceptable situation all over again

A critical reason for gender discrimination is that many employers focus too much on economic benefits to allow room for female employees. Some companies complain that two or three years after they employ female college students, the latter will ask for maternity leave.

Discrimination against female college students results in a waste of human resources and also goes against the principle of fairness in the market place. To ensure fair employment, the market rules are not enough. There is a large room for government regulation.

Although the newly issued Employment Promotion Law stipulates that companies are not allowed to practice gender discrimination, there are no explicit punishments on those who do not act accordingly. At the same time, a comprehensive social security system is urgently needed. If the losses caused by female employees' maternity leave could be relieved, more employers are likely to be open to hiring female staff.

National Business Daily

The Right to Own a Home

The housing problem not only concerns the economy, but it is a critical political issue, said Zhang Guangning, Mayor of Guangzhou, capital city of south China's Guangdong Province. He has promised that the municipal government of Guangzhou would take measures to make local houses affordable to ordinary people.

There have long been debates on the nature of estate market-related problems. Some believe it is a pure economic issue, which has nothing to do with politics. But the rocketing housing prices has put owning a home beyond the reach of ordinary people, threatening social stability. In China, not all resources are distributed in accordance with market rules, making it possible for real estate developers to team up with growth-worshipping officials to boost housing prices. The result is a few benefit while the majority suffer.

Many countries, such as Spain and France, have stipulations that make the government responsible for proper housing planning to ensure lower classes' right to own a home.

Only when the majority of the population can afford houses, can we expect lasting social stability and continuous economic development and prosperity.

Yanzhao Metropolis Daily

Don't Walk, It's Red

Red traffic light running has long been a problem in China. Most people blame this on offenders' lack of self-discipline, something that is used often as an explanation for a variety of problems. Although there are some measures to correct red light runners, like fines or asking them to swear on the spot that they will never do it again, nothing tried has brought satisfactory results. However, apart from prodding the red light runners, it's necessary for city fathers to think about problems relevant to traffic lights. As city streets get wider, the time it takes to wait for traffic lights to change gets longer. For some elderly people, it is almost impossible to get across the wide street in the time allowed. For others, who may be on the way to work, waiting so long at an intersection is unbearable. If there were another alternative, no one would run red lights. After all, it is a dangerous thing to do.

Citizens' quality is one thing, but sometimes the loopholes in rules and regulations should also be taken into consideration. The more reasonable a regulation, the more acceptable it will be.

Yangcheng Evening News

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