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China releases 'social harmony index'

Published on May 13, 2014 2:51 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - China has released its first-ever "rural social harmony index", state media reported on Tuesday, with Communist authorities apparently able to measure happiness down to the nearest ten-thousandth of a decimal point.

The first-of-its-kind index shows social harmony in the countryside currently at 59.2526 on a 100-point scale, according to the official Xinhua news agency, citing a report by the Centre for Chinese Rural Studies at Central China Normal University.

The measurement was based on six criteria related to the ruling party's definition of a "harmonious society", Xinhua said, including "democracy, justice, honesty, vitality, stability and harmony between humans and nature".

The notion of a harmonious society was introduced by then-President Hu Jintao as a call for a unified China pulling together. But the slogan has been tarnished in recent years by persistent social turmoil and outbreaks of violent unrest over a wide range of issues including corruption, state-backed land grabs, police brutality and unpaid wages.

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