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Chinese distrust strangers, lack shared values

(People's Daily Online)

07:58, February 18, 2013

"China's overall level of social trust has further declined. Only 20 to 30 percent of respondents trust strangers.” The latest Annual Report on Social Mentality of China recently released by the Institute of Sociology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has aroused heated discussion in the country.

The detailed survey of more than 1,900 residents in seven cities showed that the level of social trust dropped, and more than 70 percent of respondents would not trust strangers.

According to the report, businesses are least trusted, and distrust has increased among different classes and social groups. There is growing distrust between officials, police and residents, doctors and patients, and customers and businesspeople.

Wang Junxiu, lead author of the report, said that due to social transformation, people have moved away from the society of acquaintances, leading to a new pattern of social trust.

Fraud occurs frequently due to the defective market economy and legal system as well as lack of implementation amid social transformation. In the information era, people can easily gain indirect experience about deception, which leads to growing social distrust.

People have low trust in government, law enforcement, and judicial agencies at grass-roots level, and much lower trust in the advertising, housing, food, pharmaceutical, tourism, and catering industries largely because of certain government officials’ breaches of duties and corruption.

Wang believes that Chinese society has increasingly diverse social values amid transformation, but faces a serious problem, namely lack of shared social values.

"Without shared social values or core values that every social member observes, a society’s moral system would collapse, and mutual trust and social progress could hardly be achieved," Wang said.

Read the Chinese version: 报告称中国总体信任跌破底线 7成人不信陌生人; Source: China Youth Daily

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