Speaker: Cary Wu, Department of Sociology, York University
Moderator: Yao Lu, Department of Sociology, Columbia University
Chinese citizens have high trust in their government is well documented. Recent data show that this remains true during the COVID-19 crisis. Nonetheless, a long-standing debate is whether Chinese trust in government is genuine or simply a reflection of political fear. To offer further insights, in this article I adopt a response pattern approach that shifts the focus from how much people trust (the level of trust) to how people trust (the pattern of trust). Analyzing data from multiple sources, I consider the homogeneity and heterogeneity in how political trust is expressed among diverse populations (e.g., children vs adults) and in different situations (e.g., taped vs. not taped). I identify ten specific patterns that consistently suggest Chinese trust in government may not be simply reduced to a misrepresentation out of political fear. This study illustrates that examining the often-overlooked patterns of how people express their attitudes within different segments of the population and in different contexts provides a means to test whether the expressed attitudes are fake or genuine.
This event is sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and cosponsored by the China Center for Social Policy.