People want more public holidays but are divided over whether to cut short the week-long May Day break, according to the initial findings of a national public survey.
A poll on a draft plan to shorten the May Day holiday and add holidays to three traditional festivals ended at midnight yesterday after being posted on five major portal websites.
About 1.55 million people had participated in the survey by 8pm yesterday, and about 80 per cent backed the modification plan, Xinhua reported. About 90 per cent approved of expanding the roster of national public holidays to 11 and introducing rules on paid annual leave.
About 80 per cent of respondents supported two other proposals: to keep the week-long Lunar New Year and National Day breaks, and to add the previous day to the Lunar New Year holiday. But more than 30 per cent of participants opposed shortening the May Day 'golden week' to allow public holidays on the Tomb Sweeping Day, Dragon Boat and Mid-Autumn festivals.
The feedback was similar on Xinhua's website, the report said.
Critics have attacked the survey's drafter for not giving people the chance to say whether they liked the idea of cutting the May Day holiday.
An independent poll by the Social Survey Institute of China included the question, and almost 70 per cent of the 1,000 people surveyed said they objected to cancelling the May Day golden week.
When asked why they opposed it, 82.4 per cent said 'a long holiday ensures better rest'.
Most of those who supported the abolition said the golden week system created social problems and 'undermined social stability'.
An unidentified official from the National Development and Reform Commission, which drafted the holiday plan, said the commission had received a huge number of telephone calls, e-mails and letters and would summarise the research before submitting it to the State Council, which will release the modified plan.
Dai Bin , a professor at Beijing International Studies University, said people would need time to adjust to the new scheme, which would stay in place at least for five years.
Zhang Guangrui , director of the Tourism Research Centre under the China Academy of Social Sciences, said the controversy showed people had lost sight of the need for a holiday and had focused on the economy of tourism for too long.