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What are Chinese people afraid of?
Every one, rich or poor, young or old, has a complex of fear in mind. On Tuesday, Baidu Zhidao website published a list of the "Things that the Chinese people are most afraid of", which sparked heated debate.

The statistics show that nearly 2.9 million answers given by male registered user are about the fear of having no money, whereas over 2.7 million answers by female focus on worry about getting old. However, men seldom think of aging or appearance changes,
while women less take their own economic situation seriously than men do. For men, the causes of worry also include frustration in their careers; they are afraid of losing, joining the wrong team, or being compared with others. Women, on the other hand, generally worry about emotional problems; they are afraid of their man having an affair and they seem always to be lack of a sense of security.

In regard of the body, men are most afraid of being bald, having beer belly, and impotency while women are most afraid of face becoming wrinkled, sagging breasts, and thicker waist.

Baidu Zhidao said that different fears reflected different viewpoints of their self-worth. Many Internet users also agree with the conclusion that men fear no money while women hate getting old. It is in line with the expectation of secular society to men and women, namely, money means success to a man while looks is most important for a woman.

However, some netizens disagree with the conclusion and think that it is a limited statistical sample so cannot stand for all the people. “Material wealth is not the only criterion to measure whether a man is successful or not and getting old also does not mean the loss of charm. Although most of the common people measure themselves with secular standard, it does not mean that they are vulgar and it also stands for their desire of making progress from another perspective.”

The statistics show that the number of men fearing being alone is 8 percent higher than women. 70 percent of women are afraid of getting married but only 30 percent of men are afraid of marriage. Many netizens do not think the figures dependable because it is widely believed that women like to force men to marry them. Baidu Zhidao explained, “Maybe our female users are more independent.” In an era of high divorce rate, it can yet be regarded as a social progress that women become more independent and have higher requirements and aspiration of their love. 

Either single or married, both men and women are afraid of emotional crisis. Women are worried about being betrayed, while men are worried that their love affairs are exposed. According to statistics on Baidu Zhidao, male users frequently search for the ways to cheat their wives, whereas female users often inquire how to watch their husbands.

It is very common that some people are afraid of noises from electric drills, friction by fingers on a blackboard and even spit. However, it is inconceivable that the ratio of people who are afraid of chickens (12 percent) even exceeds that of people who are afraid of cockroach (10 percent).

According to Baidu Zhidao, the above conclusions about what Chinese people are afraid of are extracted from nearly 20 million answers to questions regarding “fear”. But are these conclusions provide widely representative? And could they provide highly valued reference?

Wang Shaolei, a professor from School of Journalism and Communication, Nanjing Normal University, said that theoretically speaking, it is feasible to figure out “what are most Chinese people afraid of”, with the questions about “fear” to netizens as the survey samples. Only if the analysis on the samples meets the basic requirements of a social survey could the conclusion provide certain reference value. Indeed, the content in the list of search findings reflects social concerns to some extent.

 
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