One country, three populations: Trust in police among migrants, villagers, and urbanites in China

Ivan Y. Sun, Rong Hu, Daniel F.K. Wong, Xuesong He, Chi Mei Jessica Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


While the past decade has witnessed the burgeoning of research on public assessments of the police in China, marginalized social groups have rarely been considered in this line of inquiry. Using data collected from migrant workers, rural villagers, and urban dwellers, this study assesses whether Chinese perceptions of the police are distinguishable along procedural-based trust and outcome-based trust and whether expressive concerns and instrumental concerns are predictive of trust in the police. Findings show that Chinese citizens tend to conflate procedural-based trust and outcome-based trust. Expressive concerns play a more important role than instrumental concerns, with such expressive variables as trust in neighborhood residents committee, perceived law and order, and quality of life influencing trust in the police. Public perceptions of police trustworthiness are also significantly linked to media influence. Directions for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1737-1749
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese police
  • Expressive concerns
  • Instrumental concerns
  • Migrant workers
  • Procedural-based trust
  • Trust in police

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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