East Asia

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 84-118

First online:

Media effects on political confidence and trust in the People's Republic of China in the post-Tiananmen period

  • Xueyi Chen
  • , Tianjian Shi

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Based on a nationwide survey conducted in mainland China between September 1993 and June 1994, this study explores the impact of propaganda of the Communist government on people's attitudes toward specific political institutions and toward the government in general. Our study shows that the news media in China have negative effects on people's attitudes toward political institutions in general and make people distrust government. Several competing interpretations are offered to explain the negative correlation between media exposure and political trust. Despite serious efforts, we are unable to falsify the relationship between media exposure and people's attitudes toward government. These findings clearly demonstrate that the propaganda of the regime failed in nurturing supportive sentiment among people in Chinese society in the post-Tiananmen era.