Trust Among Chinese Drops to Record Low

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ newly released Annual Report on Social Mentality suggests that social trust in China continues to fall. From He Dan at China Daily:

The Blue Book of Social Mentality, the latest annual report on the social mentality of China, analyzed respondents’ trust toward different people and organizations and drew a conclusion that trust in society is poor. The trust level was 59.7 points out of a full mark of 100 points.

In 2010, the trust level was 62.9 points.

[...] It showed that around 30 percent of the people polled trusted strangers on the street and about 24 percent trusted strangers online.

While People’s Daily attributes the distrust to “the lack of shared social values” among Chinese, a report from South China Morning Post suggests that the reason might lie in Chinese parenting:

In most cases, a higher number of Chinese parents admitted to telling ‘instrumental’ lies which entice the child into doing something.

The report, published in the International Journal of Psychology, found that in both countries [China and the U.S.] the practice of lying to one’s children to encourage behavioural compliance was rife and most frequently took the form of falsely threatening to leave a child alone in public if he or she refused to follow the parent.

[...] Cross-cultural differences were also seen: a larger proportion of the parents in China reported that they employed instrumental lie-telling to promote compliance, and a larger proportion approved of this practice, as compared to the parents in the US.

The arrests of six fake monks at the sacred Buddhist mountain Wutaishan will do little to solve the problem. From Josh Chin at The Wall Street Journal:

Some in China have argued that a revival of religion might help fill the moral vacuum that has been swirling at the center of Chinese society ever since the country shed its belief in communism to embrace market economics three decades ago. But with surveys showing trust eroding in China, news of a fake monk scheme at a sacred mountain suggests even religion isn’t immune to the no-holds-barred hustler ethos that has come to dominate so much of the country.

[...] The Temple for the God of Wealth and another temple called Foguo Zhongxin reportedly hired fake monks to trick tourists into donating money and buying expensive incense, Xinhua said, adding that the temples also fooled tourists into paying too much for ceremonies.

[...] The companies in charge of managing Wutaishan and some of China’s other sacred peaks have made headlines in recent years by announcing plans for initial public offerings on stock markets. Those announcements prompted Liu Wei, deputy director of China’s State Administration for Religious affairs, to issue a press release in June saying the administration would object to the commercial exploitation of religious resources.

See also One-Child Policy Accused of Breeding Mistrust, via CDT.