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Chinese citizens walk in the streets of Beijing/XINHUA-File

Corona Virus

COVID-19 boosts Chinese citizens’ trust in their government: survey

WASHINGTON, May 13 – The Chinese government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has actually enhanced its citizens’ trust in and their satisfaction with the government’s performance, according to the latest survey published by The Washington Post.

Cary Wu, a sociology professor at York University in Canada, in collaboration with 17 Chinese academics, recruited more than 600 students from 53 universities. They conducted the survey in late April 2020 through one-on-one interviews online with 19,816 people from 31 provinces or provincial-level administrative regions across China.

The survey inquired people’s trust in government at five different levels — the township, county and city level as well as the provincial and national levels, according to the report.

It found that Chinese citizens’ trust in their national government reached 98 percent. Their trust in local government also hit 91 percent. Trust in government at the county level reached 93 percent, 94 percent at the city level and 95 percent at the provincial level.

The survey also found that 49 percent of the respondents had become more trusting in their national government since the pandemic started, 48 percent said no change, and only about 3 percent had become less trusting.

The researchers also differentiate critical trust and diffuse trust, clarifying that critical trust is based on “reasoned evaluation of the performance from each specific level of government during the pandemic.”

They found that of the surveyed, 44 percent are critical trusters. And among the 44 percent of participants “who have placed more trust in some levels more than others,” the mean level of trust is 89 percent.

“The fact that trust is high among Chinese citizens who look at government performance with a critical eye suggests that high government trust in China during the pandemic reflects Chinese citizens’ true satisfaction with their government performance,” said the survey.

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