China has highest levels of trust in science

A total of 92 percent of respondents in China believe there are negative consequences for society if people do not value science.


Chinese people have the highest level of trust in science, relying on it to solve pandemic and environmental challenges, a recent survey finds.

Among 17 countries surveyed, 90 percent of Chinese respondents said they trusted the global scientific community, according to the 2022 3M State of Science Index (SOSI).

SOSI tracks the public image of science, revealing trend lines over time as to how much people trust, respect and value science and the role it plays in their lives. The 2022 edition, in its fifth year, surveyed about 17,000 people in the 17 countries, including Australia, Singapore, UK and the US.

“It indicates that science and scientists share high prestige in China, even during the post-pandemic period, and this bodes well for the future,” said Jack Xiong, head of R&D operations for 3M China.

“Over 90 percent of Chinese agree that, in the future, they will be more dependent on scientific knowledge than ever before, and are excited about futuristic innovations, including artificial intelligence and automobility.”

Notably, trust in science has remained exceptionally high in China over the past two years, with the COVID-19 outbreak as a watershed, the survey shows. The percentage of trust hovered around 85 percent in early 2020, and rose to 90 percent when the pandemic swept the world.

A total of 92 percent of respondents in China believe there are negative consequences for society if people do not value science while 83 percent of the total population surveyed held the same view.

Of respondents in China, 67 percent think that not valuing science will cause more public health crisis; 65 percent think it will cause wider divisions within society and 57 percent think it will cause increase in the severity of climate change effects.

Also, 53 percent of respondents in China consider science to be very important to their everyday lives.

Beyond the pandemic, they expect science to solve environmental issues, such as air quality (59%), climate change (56%), water supply and sanitation (53%), and equal access to quality health care (52%), the survey shows.

Source: SHINE, 2022-07-08.

Authors: Zhou Anna and Li Qian

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