Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Monday, 20 October 2008 12:58 UK

China voices: ' I feel the pressure'

As China's growth rate continues to slow, there are fears that its economy could be heading for a severe downturn.

The BBC spoke to a shipping employee in Shenzhen and a geologist's assistant outside Lhasa to find out how the financial crisis had affected their lives.

WANG HAO, GEOLOGICAL ASSISTANT, MU COUNTY, TIBET AUTONOMOUS REGION

Wang Hao
I work for a copper exploration company, a joint venture run by a British mining firm and a Chinese mining bureau.

I feel the economic pressure in this industry. Metal prices are going down and I am worried that investors in Europe and the US will also reduce their exploration activities in China.

What people think about the metal sector thousands of miles away affects my livelihood here - even though I feel very removed from it.

I work and live in an extremely rural area. The scenery is beautiful, especially in the summertime. It's getting cold now and the landscape is barren. We are planning to shut down the project temporarily because it is simply too cold.

We look at areas with high grades of copper. A geologist can identify the grade of copper from the appearance of outcrops on the land. But we are not a very big firm, our assets are influenced by our investors.

China is an export-oriented country and manufacturing is big. The economic downturn could have a big impact.

Food and commodity prices haven't changed hugely where I am because it is so rural here. This is farming country and people here carry on with their lives. They eat the cattle and the sheep they raise, they eat local vegetables. They seem quite self-sufficient.

They have no idea what is going on outside in the financial world, they have concerns such as the number of yaks they can raise this year.

What people think about the metal sector thousands of miles away affects my livelihood here
But when I go to the city, I hear people talking about the financial crisis. In Chengdu, I've heard that real-estate companies are downsizing and house prices are getting lower.

We are getting very pessimistic; I think the government needs to introduce incentive policies and co-operate with US and European governments. Otherwise, the economy in China could slump.

XIONG MING, SHIPPING EMPLOYEE, SHENZHEN

I've been working at the Dragongate Logistics shipping company for three years now.

We've seen dramatic changes to our export-related business here in Shenzhen since the global financial downturn started. If you compare this year to last year, the volume of exports from the port of Yatian has plunged.

Job-wise, the sense of crisis is constantly there because there is every chance that the company will go under
Take our shipping company for example; this time last year, we were handling something like 100 to 200 containers a week, but this year, it has dropped by more than a half.

Export factories face a really depressing future. Unofficial estimates show that 20% of export companies have closed down, the actual figure could be even higher.

Personally, my salary and those of my colleagues has been reduced by a quarter or more. This time last year, I was earning between 10 and 20,000 RMB ($1,500 -$3,000) each month. Now I don't even earn 10,000 RMB. Since the cost of living in Shezhen is relatively high, that affects my life a lot.

Job-wise, the sense of crisis is constantly there because there is every chance that the company will go under and you'll lose your job. You never know.




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