China given top marks on public trust
Public trust in the Chinese government has risen to 95 percent during the coronavirus pandemic, with citizens' responses to a survey putting the country at the top of the 11 countries covered.
This survey, which was conducted by US-based Edelman Intelligence between April 15 and 23, sampled more than 13,200 respondents in Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The results, which were recently revealed, showed that China is up 5 points from the last survey in January, giving the country its top ranking. India came in second with 87 percent, while the US and Japan finished at the bottom with 48 percent and 38 percent, respectively.
The update titled "The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update: Trust and the COVID-19 Pandemic", was issued in May to analyze the global impact of the pandemic.
Zhang Ming, head of the Chinese Mission to the European Union, said he believed the strong measures taken by the Chinese government to fight COVID-19－including a $2.2 billion appropriation for medical facilities, the dispatching of more than 42,000 medical workers to the most-affected areas and the rapid establishment of two up-to-standard hospitals－strengthened public trust in the government.
Ambassador Zhang, speaking at a May 3 event in Brussels upon the release of the survey, quoted Bruce Aylward, team leader of the joint China-World Health Organization mission on COVID-19, in saying that China's approach probably prevented hundreds of thousands of cases of the virus, Xinhua News Agency said.
More broadly, the survey revealed that amid the pandemic, public trust in government surged to 65 percent in May from 54 percent in January.
That percentage made government the most trusted institution for the first time since 2011, ahead of businesses, the media and nonprofit organizations, said Richard Edelman, chief executive officer of Edelman, a global communications firm.
According to the survey, trust in government had languished globally after gridlock in the European Union over Greek debt and corruption scandals in developing nations eroded trust.
'A striking comeback'
The spring update shows "a striking comeback for government: the public is relying on government to protect them in a manner not seen since World War II", Edelman said in a statement. "Faced with one of the biggest health and financial crises in history, people are turning to their governments for leadership and hope.
"The speed and scale of the lockdowns, the brave performance of the public health services and the extent of public expenditure to support the private sector have shown government taking quick, decisive action.
"This is a stunning turnaround for government, which has always languished at or near the bottom of the trust hierarchy."
However, Edelman added in an interview with CBS News that this unprecedented level of trust in government can't be expected to last.
"We believe this is actually a 'trust bubble' that won't last longer than Christmas because people will be disappointed when their jobs don't come back and when they run out of funds," he said.
Globally, a large majority of the respondents in the poll said they wanted government to lead in multiple areas of the response to the coronavirus, including containing the pandemic (73 percent), helping people cope with the it (72 percent) and informing the public (72 percent).
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