China Research Workshop 中国研究讲座 Lunch Discussion RSVP
Friday, September 27, 2019 | 12:00-1:30 p.m. | GPS 3106 (Ground level large conference room)

"Implicit Political Trust in China"

Presenter: Haifeng Huang, Associate Professor of Political Science, UC Merced

The high levels of trust expressed by the Chinese people in their government often invites skepticism about the authenticity of survey results. Using a variant of the Implicit Association Test, a common method for measuring attitudes that people are either unwilling or unable to report, we find that Chinese respondents implicitly trust government and that it is unrelated to explicit (self-reported) trust. We found that implicit and explicit trust have distinct sources, with implicit trust more shaped by education and urbanization (socialization) whereas explicit trust appears to be more strongly rooted in belief in a just world and government performance. We also find that implicit trust matters, contributing to system justification and other indicators of system support such as acceptance of state sponsored propaganda, support of China’s emerging social credit system, and trust in the government’s ability to handle crisis events. In sum, our results suggest that the Chinese people hold an intuitive, unspoken trust in government and that it matters in understanding the regime’s public support and stability.


CRW provides a forum for the presentation of original research by China scholars from around the country in social science and humanities, sponsored by the Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China. To view archive and upcoming workshops list, visit:
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