BEIJING, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Recently released survey results indicating Chinese workers' growing levels of stress have raised public concern and caused heated discussion among China's Internet community.
Some 75 percent of Chinese workers are feeling more pressure this year than last, according to a poll conducted in September by serviced office space provider Regus.
The survey, which canvassed the opinions of over 16,000 workers worldwide, put the global average at 48 percent, concluding China held the highest rate of increasing stress levels of all the countries polled. The leading causes of stress were identified as employment, finances and customers.
While the result remains controversial in China due to Japan's greater reputation for stressed-out employees, Chinese workers are indeed experiencing more pressure from work than before, said Xiao Minzheng, director of Peking University's Center for Human Resource Development and Management Research.
The poll said stress levels rose for 45 percent of workers in Japan and 58 percent of those in Germany, which came second in Regus's rankings of increased stress.
"China has yet to improve its housing, healthcare and pension system, and that's why Chinese workers are having more pressure," according to Xiao.
The Regus poll was widely circulated via Chinese media after its publication and the result was echoed by another online survey launched by Sina Weibo, China's most popular Twitter-like service.
The Sina poll, which had garnered responses from more than 6,800 Chinese Internet users by 4 p.m. on Thursday, showed that more than 6,500, or more than 95 percent of the total, said they feel "pressure." The choices of the poll were limited to "yes" or "No".
Many Chinese Internet users have commented on the topic. Some believe pressures are increasing in the workplace because of more competition, greater aspirations to succeed, the lack of a social security network, and the inaccessibility of psychological counselling.
"The biggest pressure is that I'm not sure of what will happen in the future," wrote a netizen identified by the screen name Song of Darkness.
Few microbloggers said they don't feel any pressure, although some dismissed the aspirations driving many people's career anxieties. "Want less, care less, less pressure," wrote "Daodaoxinqing."
Stress caused by jobs has become a source of great public concern, especially since the past few years have seen several cases of young workers dying suddenly at work or committing suicide as a result of the pressure they were under.
Since 2010, at least a dozen employees from Foxconn Technology Group, which churns out iPhones, iPads and Xbox video game consoles, have jumped to their deaths or tried to do so from buildings rented by the company, triggering calls for improved worker welfare.
In April, 2011, Pan Jie, and auditor at the Shanghai branch of PricewaterhouseCoopers, died suddenly at the age of 25.
Although the company said she died of viral encephalitis after asking for a sick leave because of high fever, many people believed the tragedy stemmed from "karoshi," a Japanese term that literally means death from overwork.
Work pressure has also become a leading cause of police fatalities in China. According to the Ministry of Public Security, overwork was behind the deaths of 47 percent of officers who died on duty from 2006 to 2011.