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China: 88% of Chinese trust government?

Edelman, one of the top five global public relations firms, released its 2011 Trust Barometer on January 26 2011. The report indicates that China ranked first, with 88% trust, in the world in terms of trust government. On the other hand, the United States fell from 46% to 40%. The full report can be found here.

The news was widely reported in Chinese state media outlets, but most of them did not explain the survey's methodology. Many Chinese netizens found the survey result unbelievable and raised a lot of questions, however, the comment sections of the news article in many portal websites have been shut down, such as this one in 163.com.

Yet when one search in Chinese “Edelman” (愛德曼)for blog posts in major search engines and blog hosting websites, one can find out how the survey has become a public relation disaster for Edelman.

For example, Anjing writes in her blog:

大清早的被网易上面的新闻标题给恶心的早餐都差点吐出来!…

在此,我仅代表我自己,我是另外12%的一员!!!!…

这时候,我不仅蛋疼的发现网易又关闭了评论,还发现,原来调查是一个公关公司搞的!!!!!!公关公司!!!!!你们懂的——不是尼尔森,不是“你的声音”,甚至不是“CCAV”、“人民币网”,而是公关公司!!
于是本人纯属虚构了YY某个情节:一笔数目庞大的“公关费”和一个肮脏的公关公司,于是就得到一个令人反胃的数字:88%!

Upon reading the news headline in 163.com, I almost threw out my breakfast!…
Here, I only represent myself, I am a member of the 12% population!!!…
Then I found that that 163.com has shut down the comment section. The survey was done by a public relation company!!! Public relation company!!! — it is not “your voice” not “CCAV” or “RMB web”, it is a public relation company!!
I imagine a situation like this: a huge “public relation fee” and a dirty company bring forward a disgusting figure: 88%

Heavenly Wolf has re-posted the news in his blog and there are many sarcastic remarks in the comment section, 鄭亞君 says:

有误,应该是百分百,犯人也对政府绝对信任,中国没有一个人敢不信任政府的,是百分百啊,也没有一个人敢在公开场合说对政府不信任.我就在任何时候,包括作梦,都信任.

A mistake, the result should be 100%. Even prisoners in China trust the Chinese government, no one dare not to trust the government. It is therefore 100%. No one dare to say publicly that they don't trust the government, including myself. I trust it even in my dream.

MZ蓬艾之間 says:

萨达姆的民主支持率是100%,中国政府仍需努力啊

Saddem Hussien's support rate was 100%, Chinese government has to work harder.

非哥 says

爱德曼(中国)公司,清一色的女性,十足的谄媚公司。这下以为中国政府可以赏赐她们一块肉过年了吧!看它今后在中国如何混。哼~

Edelman (China)'s employees are mostly women, a seductive company. The Chinese government will give them a piece of meat for the Lunar New Year. See how it develop its business in China!

新浪網友 says:

北朝据说是120%,这才是真正的第一啊!

Hearsay North Korea has 120% trust rate, this is real number one!

In Sina Micro-blog, there a number of discussion threads on Edelman's survey result. In the comment section of Morning News‘s post, it has accumulated so far more than 511 comments. Below is a selection:

leerydesign 想讨好 中国政府也用不着这样吧,太TM出彩了(1月28日 11:19)

leerydesign They have cross the line in doing this to please the Chinese government. (Jan 28 11:19)

青天包老爷 哇,一不小心成了少数派!!或者可能已经被88%了(1月28日 00:19)

青天包老爷 suddenly I have become a minority. Or I have been 88-percentized. (Jan 28 00:19)

Chang_年少轻狂 冷笑话?…我表示我对爱德曼公关公司信任度下降到零。幸亏没参加调查,要不然就给国家拖后腿了…(政府不会河蟹我吧…)(1月27日 23:04)

Chang_年少轻狂 A joke?… My trust towards Edelman Public Relation company has been reduced to zero. Luckily I have not participated in the survey, or I will be the foot-dragging one for our country… (I hope the government won't harmonize me…) (Jan 27 23:04)

成一语 这个公司太好了,来天朝吧,天朝就喜欢这样的主,天朝有大把的钱可以赚,只要你能是要昧着良心为天朝大唱赞歌就行。(1月27日 17:41)

成一语 This is a good company, come here to the great kingdom. The great kingdom loves you and you can make a huge profit here. All you have to do is to give up your conscience and sing praise for the great kingdom. (Jan 27 17:41)

怡静若斯 没见过把假话说的这么假的(1月27日 17:17)

怡静若斯 I have never seen a lie that looks so much like a lie. (Jan 27 17:17)

lee嘵姐 啊呀!还有一项调查,中国90%的人都是不拉屎的!(1月27日 13:58)

lee嘵姐 Oh, another survey shows that 90% of Chinese people don't shit! (Jan 27 13:58)

双鱼郎 今天是愚人节?(1月27日 11:25)

双鱼郎 Today is the Fool's Day? (Jan 27 11:25)

大贱圣 坑爹呢这是???收入排名前25%的高端人群,估计里面有80%是太子党,控制了中国90%以上的资产,他们不满意谁满意?我爸又不是李刚(1月27日 09:49)

大贱圣 This is to cheat my Dad??? Among the top 25% highest income group from elite class, 80% are from the prince party and they control 90% asset. Of course they are satisfied. But my Dad is not Li Gang. (Jan 27 09:49)

Confronted with the public relation disaster, Edelman has posted an explanation to their survey's methodology in their official website:

This post is in response to comments here regarding the findings in China. The 2011 Trust Barometer survey measures a distinct audience – informed publics who meet the following criteria: college-educated, top quartile of income by age group, and follows business/news media and policy issues at least several times a week. Additionally, the study was conducted by phone in three urban areas within China: Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Therefore, the results are not reflective of the general population. The methodology has been consistent for 11 years and is included in all of our printed materials on the study, as well as the website – including a statement on the survey sample.

However, it is unlikely that the statement can restore Edelman's credibility among Chinese netiznes as the result is so far away from ordinary Chinese people's common sense. For example, Anarchy253873 comments after the official statement:

We just find the results incredibly unconvincing. To be precise, the 88% trust meter of China is an absolute joke. 55% percent is my best estimation. The methodology must be serious flawed. This result is totally misleading for people elsewhere. There could be several reasons for that:
1.You have not taken the political situation in consideration. Chinese people so far only have limited freedom of speech, especially when it comes to expressing negative attitude towards the government.But I think that's not the case. Edelman inc could not have made such a rookie mistake.
5 percent chance.
2.You tried to collect some real opinions but are fed with people who are actually representatives of the Communist party. Things like this happen all the time. You are not the first and won't be the last. But still the validity of this survey is poor.
60 percent chance.
3.You cooperated with the Chinese government in exchange for your business profit in China. In other words, you just sold your soul for money, same old story. PR firms sometimes have to give in for survival.But that does not justify a fraud report.
35 percent chance.

So which is it?

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