The mainland has long held up the welcome sign for high-achieving expatriates who return to contribute to the country's development. Many have leapt at the chance to go back to their roots to seize opportunities created by dynamic economic growth. There is a counterpoint to that story, however, which the ruling party should not dismiss lightly. Many who have prospered the most from China's modernisation would prefer to go somewhere else to enjoy lifetime financial security and pursue further opportunities for themselves and their families. Doubtless they include successful former expatriates. This emerges from a survey of nearly 1,000 wealthy people released jointly by the Bank of China and the Hurun Report, which publishes an annual mainland rich list. Nearly half said they planned to emigrate, with 14 per cent having already arranged to move overseas or having applied to do so. Some of the reasons are a worry. Apart from higher quality education for their children, better health care and hopes for a better life in retirement, they include concerns about the security of their assets on the mainland, grey areas in the mainland's legal framework, a worsening investment atmosphere, pollution, rising living costs and taxation - and discomfort over rising social resentment fed by a growing wealth gap. Granted, some are corrupt officials and businessmen who want to leave with their ill-gotten gains. And some who leave go no further than Hong Kong. But it has to be a worry to mainland leaders that many of the super-rich do not hold themselves up as examples of the Chinese dream, but think about getting out. It is a reminder that economic growth has raised expectations of a fair society, justice, clean government, food and environmental safety, educational opportunity and decent health care. No country gets a perfect score on these counts. But China needs to tick more boxes if people it can ill afford to lose are not to vote with their feet.