Reability of Public Opinion Polls in China

Reability of Public Opinion Polls in China

Li Qin

Cand. Sci. (Philol.), Senior Lecturer, Institute of Foreign Languages, Southeast University, Jiangsu Province, Nanjing, PRC

Babich N.S.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS; Associate Prof. at the Department of Sociology, RUDN University, Moscow, Russia

ID of the Article:

Co-author of this article Li Qin was supported by Fundamental Research Funds for Chinese Central Universities (Project No. 2242020S20050 and Project No. 2242020R10030) and Jiangsu Province Project ”Double Creative PhD“ (JSSCBS202030305).

For citation:

Li Qin, Babich N.S. Reability of Public Opinion Polls in China. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2023. No 3. P. 26-31


The current international situation has increased importance of analyzing public opinion in the PRC. But the specificity of Chinese society allows critics of the PRC to put forward arguments (lack of “democratic public”, self-censorship of respondents, suspicions regarding political censorship, non-representative samples) against such an enterprise. This article systematically examines and refutes these arguments. The undertaken analysis shows that they are either easily overcome, since they are based on fragmentary data, or, with no less reason, should be addressed to all studies of public opinion in the world. This makes it possible to rely on polling data in the PRC and analyze public opinion trends with their help, although such an analysis should take into account likelihood of self-censorship of respondents, common for any society, and the fact that most samples in China represent, first of all, the most active urban population.

public opinion; PRC; self-censorship; reliability of surveys; samples representativity


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