Kong, or 'control', is character of the year in China

'Kong' character
Image caption The Chinese character "kong" generally means "control".

The Chinese character "kong" has been chosen as character of the year for 2011.

More than two million internet users took part in the selection, say the organisers of the state-backed poll.

Kong generally means "control" and replaces 2010's "zhang" which means "price hikes".

The organisers say the choice symbolises the government's economic policy, which is aimed at keeping inflation under control.

The widespread use of "kong" by Chinese people when discussing control of the internet, media and society was not mentioned in the official reports.

The phrase of the year is "shang bu qi" which means "too delicate to bear a blow". According to state news agency Xinhua, this choice reveals the public's sensitivity to personal and social problems.

China's growing importance in a globalised world economy was reflected in the choice of "debt" and "euro debt crisis" as the international word and phrase of the year.

In last year's poll "zhang" was followed by the characters for "resentment", "grey", "demolish" and "death". It's not known whether 2011's runners-up are as cheerful.