In an interview of Xie Feng, Chinese ambassador to the U.S., at the 2023 Aspen Security Forum...


at timestamp 18:18, the ambassador seems to referring to this poll...


A quote from the poll...

While accurate numbers are always hard to come by in China, our 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer allows us to follow the trends. Trust among Chinese citizens in their government is a record 91 percent, the highest seen in a decade.

As a person familiar with China's practices, Xie Feng is aware that the government is known to retaliate against people that express discontent with the Communist Party's leadership and yet he cited this poll in a manner that sets himself up for criticism that he was not citing a credible source.

How did Edelman get honest statements for a poll conducted in China about the Communist Party?

  • 6
    The point is that even if you don't completely trust the answers, a trend (the results going up or down) probably indicate some kind of significant change. I don't know the precise methodology used, and polling companies often keep these things as "trade secrets" although may publish in an academic context. (Have you explored Edeman's website and publications for notes on methodology?)
    – Stuart F
    Aug 2, 2023 at 10:57
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    It's an online interview. Respondents are asked to rank trust in government on a 1 to 9 scale. I doubt if the typical person in China gives a thought to the extent they can rely on technology to keep their data private. Instead, people in China might literally not have opinions (of their own), as Masha Gessen seems to say of Russians. I take that to mean that they're too fearful to think let alone say anything but what the government would have them think. I trust TLS/SSL as of 2023 but maybe I'm wrong to. Since I'm not a Chinese it's not a high stakes matter for me.
    – H2ONaCl
    Aug 2, 2023 at 12:30
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    Even if a person trusts the technology, there is still the risk the interviewer or organization is not secure. This is how they describe the process... "The research was produced by the Edelman Trust Institute and consisted of 30-minute online interviews conducted between November 1st and November 28th, 2022."
    – H2ONaCl
    Aug 2, 2023 at 12:30
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    What sort of answer are you hoping for here? You have read Edelman's own description of their polling method. What more do you expect us to add? Aug 2, 2023 at 14:03
  • Based on the answer that was accepted, which provided no information beyond that already in the question, I do not believe this question was asked in good faith. I am therefore voting to close. Aug 3, 2023 at 20:59

1 Answer 1


They didn't. Read the quoted statement carefully and assume that they try to show themselves in as positive a light as they can get away with.

First there is a disclaimer that getting accurate data in China is alway difficult. Next they say that according to their own polls confidence in the Chinese government is at a 10-year-high. I don't think Xie Feng actually claims that this represents the honest opinion of Chinese people, that is what they try to capture but they acknowledge themselves that this is difficult so they don't know whether it does.

  • Probably a fair point that the best use of that polling data is to gauge the relative willingness of ordinary citizens to criticize the government from year to year. As an illustration of the difference, suppose a scenario where the government is trying to gin up support for a foreign policy change, so they can play like they were forced into it (Propaganda SOP). So on this one matter they actually encourage criticism. One might well expect that to show up in this poll.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 2, 2023 at 21:19

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