Wednesday, Nov. 9, students and members of the community gathered in the Bowers Writers House to hear assistant professor of political science and Asian studies Dr. Dan Chen speak about political trust in China.
Chen’s recent research has been on the citizen’s trust in the different types of government, mainly local and central government.
There was a survey done by the University of Taiwan on the citizen’s trust levels in regard to the local and central government.
China is a communist nation, but the central trust is nearly 90 percent and the local trust 70 percent.
After the recent Election Day in the United States, the topic also shifted to American trust in government officials. With a quick assessment around the room, the group concluded that there is typically more trust in the local government than in the central government. In fact, central trust in the US is at an all-time low of nearly 25 percent, according to Chen’s surveys.
However, Chen argued that these Chinese survey results will continue into eventual devastating consequences for the overall government trust in China. Since local government officials are representing the central government in their areas, this will eventually lead to a decrease in both local and central governmental trust in the future.
This communist nation has been under its current ruler since 2013, when the president of the communist party was elected. Since then, the nation has been controlled by an authoritarian government.
There are strict laws in China that prevent the citizens from creating their own political parties, and they filter what they say about the current government.
What they call a law against rumors, is really a way to keep social outbursts quiet. Their social media accounts are portrayed in a different light, since they do not necessarily have the same social rights as Americans.
Another reason there is not a lower trust rate for the central government is due to media control, or what the media sources can tell the people.
Local government officials are also the people citizens are more likely to see enforcing the laws. This causes more distrust of the local government, despite the fact the central government actually makes the laws.
“Dr. Ozkanca recommended I come to this event since I’m looking into more political science classes,” sophomore Amanda Hafler stated.
Similar to other countries, educators are often monitored more closely than other citizens and targeted for any contrasting beliefs they spread.
The way that the Chinese government is structured leaves little to no room for social unrest to be expressed. The suppression is not always prevalent in everyday life, but that does not mean it is not there.
In connection, there are not as many nationwide protests since they would be quieted by the government, as well.
The results from the popular Taiwan poll indicate that local government trust is lower, but eventually this may rise into a problem for the central government as well. If local support is declining, there will be an eventual downward drop in total regime support overall.
China has the largest population in the world, yet it is not as diverse as America. Despite the large country and its various regions, there are much smaller sections of public opinion.
The differences in these opinions center mainly around the gender of the people and the varying age levels.
For example, it is more typical of the average Chinese woman to be more trusting of the central government than it is for an average Chinese male to exhibit the same level of trust.
Apart from gender differences, there is a level of distrust exhibited in Chinese citizens who regularly go on the Internet. It could be assumed that the Internet offers more explanations into the varying intentions of the governments, both local and central.
Citizens who have acquired a higher level of education also tend to be less satisfied with the government. There are less categories for expression in China, partially since there are no political parties, and the popular religious and political views tend to keep a repressive regime intact.