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Print Edition> Opinion
UPDATED: March 13, 2009 NO. 11 MAR. 19, 2009

Stop Playing Holiday Games

Recently, the National Tourism Administration suggested that if local governments believed a weeklong May Day holiday would boost economic growth, they could lengthen the break on their own.


BUYER DROUGHT: With housing prices far beyond what ordinary people can afford, the stream of buyers has dried up (WANG DINGCHANG) 

At the end of 2007, the state announced that the May Day holiday would be cut down to three days from the previous seven days. Since the new policy took effect in 2008, there have been many calls for resumption of the previous practice.

However, few people have mentioned the huge cost of a second holiday schedule reform.

For example, trading calendars of stock and futures markets should also be adjusted correspondingly. Many businesses, families and individuals also have to change their plans if the weeklong holiday is resumed. More importantly, if the longer holiday is unable to spur economic growth, will it again be shortened?

People should not be deluded by short-term benefits when formulating and implementing a policy. Thus, the discussion on the holiday schedule reform should focus more on the negative impact that an unstable policy might incur. After all, apart from stimulating the sluggish economy, there are many other things we need to care about.

The Beijing News

Property Market Gets Dumped

Earlier this year, the Chinese Government devised support packages for 10 hard-hit industries in the recent economic slowdown. The property sector was not designated as a recipient of the state assistance.

With housing prices already exorbitantly high, few families can afford a new home nowadays. In this sense, the real estate sector is incapable of fulfilling the task of boosting the economy.

Since the property market entered its slump last year, local governments have tried various stimulus policies to revive it, all to no avail.

Some economists argue that a booming property industry can promote the development of several upstream industries. However, economic growth can only be achieved after people have bought houses available for sale. Otherwise, it only gives rise to a housing bubble.

Actually, once housing prices drop to a reasonable level, without stimulus policies, people will again become interested in buying.

Dazhong Daily

Don't Prolong the Inevitable

Given the current difficulty in job-hunting facing college students, some lawmakers suggested at this year's session of the National People's Congress that college students stay longer on campus, prompting a call for "post-bachelor's and post-master's courses." Some also proposed extending undergraduate education to five years and prolonging vocational college education to three years.

To stimulate domestic demand, undergraduate enrollment was expanded at the end of the 1990s. Now, in order to relieve employment pressure, college students may even be asked to take an extra year of classes. To sum up, the education system can be passively reformed for various practical benefits, but never will it be reformed for its own long-term development.

It's not time to invent ways to continue poisoning China's education system, but time to examine policy mistakes in past years so as to save the already seriously sick system for our future generations.

Guangzhou Daily

Let the Public Know

Inadequate and overly expensive medical services are now a big concern in China. Despite this, several members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top advisory body, recently said that medical services in China are not that inaccessible and neither are they expensive. They, all medical industry insiders, argued that most complaints on this issue resulted from patients' high expectations on medical institutions.

The uneven distribution of medical resources in urban and rural areas, the underdeveloped health insurance system and the widening rich and poor disparity are making it extremely difficult for low-income earners to afford medical services. In some remote areas, people have to travel tens and even thousands of miles to see a well-trained doctor. It happens often that a patient drags his whole family into poverty in the medical process.

After this fact has been widely recognized by Chinese society, it is astonishing that these medical industry insiders made such remarks. Is it because they themselves have easy access to medical services that they do not know the difficulty facing average patients?

To sidestep the problem and cheat the public help no one. The real way out is to face up to the difficulty and find effective solutions to the problem.

Changjiang Daily

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