Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

China town given survey answers


Officials in eastern China distributed an answer sheet to a survey on public well-being so that residents could give the "correct" responses, reports say.

The inhabitants of the town of Shiqiao, near Nanjing, were given the answers to the telephone survey about 20 days in advance, the Nanjing Morning Post said.

They were told that those who complied would receive a $290 (200) prize.

A Communist Party official said the answer sheet had been "for educational purposes", but denied offering money.

The results of the well-being survey, carried out by the provincial Statistics Bureau, showed public satisfaction to be over 96%.

'Telephone outages'

Earlier this month, residents of Shiqiao received a list of 16 questions and answers to the telephone survey gauging whether or not the town had achieved provincial targets for improving public well-being.

According to the Nanjing Morning Post, they included:

  • "What was your total family income in 2008? Answer: More than 8,000 yuan ($1172; 800)."

  • "If you were to measure happiness on a 100-point scale, how many points would you give yourself? Answer: Between 90 and 100."

Resident Hu Changjun said: "The village officials also sent word around that anyone who was chosen for the survey and who gave the standard answers would receive a 2,000-yuan prize."

Schools also reportedly declared a holiday on the day of the survey, with teachers informing students that they should stay at home to help their parents read out the "correct" answers.

Picture posted on the internet of Zhou Jiugeng reportedly with a packet of Nanjing Imperial 95
A government official in Nanjing was recently sacked for embezzlement
Many residents of a poorer area of Shiqiao meanwhile complained to the newspaper of telephone outages, which stopped them from taking part.

A local Communist Party official told the Nanjing Morning Post that the town had taken the inspection "very seriously to make sure we would pass".

"The samples were for educational purposes, so that people wouldn't make mistakes if they received a survey call," vice-secretary Zhu said.

Mr Zhu said he knew nothing about any prizes having been offered, but could not rule out that low-level officials might have done so.

Public outrage

Earlier this week, a mid-level Communist Party official in Nanjing was sacked after being photographed wearing a designer watch and smoking expensive cigarettes.

The pictures that appeared on the internet of Zhou Jiugeng, head of a district housing bureau, with a $22 packet of Nanjing Imperial 95 cigarettes and what appeared to be a $14,600 Vacheron Constantin watch prompted public outrage on several Chinese websites.

Mr Zhou was dismissed on Sunday on suspicion of "embezzling public funds to pursue a luxurious personal lifestyle", according to the China Daily newspaper.

China Daily also reported that 40 government officials in Nanjing were being investigated for allegedly accepting gifts worth $21,000 from a local toy company during the last Lunar New Year holiday.

Print Sponsor

Chinese warned off lavish gifts
29 Dec 08 |  Asia-Pacific
China's year of tumult and triumph
27 Dec 08 |  Asia-Pacific
China plans new anti-gang effort
22 Dec 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Chinese exports drop in slowdown
10 Dec 08 |  Business

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific