How Local Officials in Jiangsu Manipulate “Well-off Society” Survey Results

Gaochun is a county under the jurisdiction of Nanjing, about a two hour drive from the city, the capital of Province. The following photo reveals a standard answer sheet, given by Gaochun officials to residents, telling them how to respond to a provincial survey about “well-off society.” Similarly manipulated surveys elsewhere in Jiangsu Province have also been reported (see here and here).

(李源朝), the Minister of the Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party, is the former party secretary of Jiangsu, and is considered a rising political star, known for undertaking government reform measures. The “well-off society” surveys was a major initiative launched during his term as Jiangsu party secretary.

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Translated by CDT’s Lucy Lin:

Questionnaire Surveying Living Standards, with Standard Answers Given

Investigator’s introduction:

Hello, I am an interviewer from the Center of Opinion Polls in Jiangsu Province. Currently, we are conducting a survey on the living standards of Gaochun County, and we received your number through a sample. Please take a few minutes to answer the following questions:
1.Speaking of a well-off society, do you think the living conditions in Gaochun County have reached the standards for a well-off life?
Answer: Yes
2. Do you think that your current living conditions are considered well-off?
Answer: 1) Yes 2) Already well-off
3. In the past year, how much money did your family make overall per capita?
Answer: 1) More than 8,000 RMB 2) Around 8,000 RMB
4. Are you satisfied with your current housing situation?
Answer: 1) Satisfied 2) Pretty satisfied
5. Are you satisfied with the road conditions near your house?
Answer: 1) Satisfied 2) Pretty satisfied
6. Do you have a computer in your house right now?
Answer: 1) Yes 2) No
7. Overall, would you say that your living standards in 2008 improved or worsened over 2007?
Answer: Improved
8. Is it convenient for you and your family to seek medical attention?
Answer: 1) Very convenient 2) Pretty convenient
9. Have you participated in the new village co-op health benefit plan?
Answer: Yes
10. Are you satisfied with neighborhood safety conditions?
Answer: 1) Satisfied 2) Pretty satisfied
11. Are you satisfied with the following neighborhood conditions?
-Satisfied with afforestation? Answer: 1) Satisfied 2) Fairly satisfied
-Satisfied with the air quality? Answer: 1) Satisfied 2) Fairly satisfied
-Satisfied with the water quality? Answer: 1) Satisfied 2) Fairly satisfied
-Satisfied with the noise control? Answer: 1) Satisfied 2) Fairly satisfied
-Satisfied with the sanitary conditions of the environment? Answer: 1) Satisfied 2) Fairly satisfied
12. What problems or concerns would you like to be addressed in the future modernization of Gaochun County?

Note: Reply truthfully if faced with other questions (i.e. age, address, occupation, educational background)

Here is another example of how local leaders manipulate the “well-off society” survey. Blogger Cainiao wrote a blog post called “That’s what it is (原来如此)”, translated by CDT:

Those days, HM is doing things like “Well-off society.” There are “contests of knowledge about a well-off society,” “well-off society survey report” and these kinds of projects. I do not have a clue what this is all about.

Today I went to the countryside, and finally I understand. HM wanted to participate in an activity of Jiangsu province, about “well-off society.” There is a telephone survey involved. The judges from Nanjing will randomly call numbers here, to ask the real situation. But two mayors of our city will be sitting right next to the phones. If someone gives the wrong answer over the phone, then…..

But that is not enough. They have even smarter methods. The day of the survey, the entire county’s middle school and primary school had a vacation. And all students had an assignment, which was to stay next to the phone in their home. Students needed to get to the phone before their parents did, and give the ready answers to the surveyors. I can imagine that the mayors sitting next to the phone on the other end will be glowing when they hear such answers.

Therefore, when the city is awarded such and such a title, leaders must be so happy……

February 19, 2009 9:25 PM
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