Newly released official data about pay rises in the 2007-2011 period has stirred online debate over the figures' accuracy, with many believing the increases are not remarkable enough considering inflation and surging housing prices.
The Chinese Academy of Personnel Science on Thursday published a report on the development of human resources in China, showing that the average annual salary of urban employees rose from 24,721 yuan ($4,022.42) in 2007 to 41,799 yuan in 2011, up 69.1 percent.
In 2012, the average yearly salary for urban employees in non-private sectors stood at 46,769 yuan, up 9 percent year on year after deducting price factors, according to the report.
The news triggered heated discussion soon after appearing on popular Chinese websites -- most netizens questioned the figures in the context of their own lower salaries and deemed the data useless amid surging expenditure.
"I feel ashamed that my salary is again below the average level" was a common comment on Sina Weibo, one of China's most popular Twitter-like services.
Microblogger "joys" said, "After carefully rechecking my pay checks, I am sure that I was 'averaged' with other rich workers."
In fact, among the mockery, many indicated the high salaries only belong to civil servants and employees with state-owned enterprises and monopolies.
Meanwhile, the debate turned against the relatively larger growth in prices, especially in the real estate businesses.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, rose 2.6 percent year on year in August, down from 2.7 percent in July.
The index rose 2.6 percent year on year by the end of 2012, but was up 5.4 percent in 2011 from the previous year, well above the government's full-year inflation control target of 4 percent.
On the other hand, driven by rapid urbanization and speculation, China's property market has taken off in recent years, especially after the economic stimulus policies the government issued in 2009 to help weather the global financial crisis.
China Index Academy, a leading property research institution, said that the average new home price in a pool of 100 cities stood at 10,554 yuan per square meter in September, marking a 1.07-percent rise from August and an increase for a 16th consecutive month.
Microblogger "fankegang" said, "Netizens have failed to realize the change in income as living costs have run faster than the pay rises."