2 comments on “Lack of trust in China – suspicion everywhere

  1. So many questions bring to mind: is this limited to big cities? Is this behavior reflected in business-to-business dealings? If there’s a debate about why it exists, what are the possible sociological explanations? Great made-me-think post with solid examples to help me understand what you mean by “suspicion”; it may not excuse the taxi driver, but as you say, at least you know it wasn’t personal.

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    • Bobbi, good questions. It’s complex and I think even many mainlanders can’t fully figure why (the first article I linked to in this post goes into this). I’m not sure but I guess there’s more trust in towns and rural areas, mainly because communities are more tight-knit and people know each other better, unlike say, Beijing, where at least one-third of the people are from out of town and locals sometimes discriminate against outsiders.
      The possible explanations are many – the effects of Cultural Revolution and other events that caused serious and violent disruptions, poverty and desperation, lack of strong laws (which sounds ironic given that it has an authoritarian leadership but at ground level, laws are weak and ambiguous), lack of strong communities. Unlike say, the US, Canada or even Taiwan, people do not have the mindset of being kind or considerate to, much less trust, strangers.

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