of a total of 100 points -- in 2010 to 59.7 points in the latest survey.
Results of the new annual report on social mentality in China, titled the Blue Book of Social Mentality, said that in general trust was poor in society.
“The latest poll also found that in China, family members are viewed as the most trustworthy, followed by close friends and acquaintances,” state-run China Daily said, quoting from the survey conducted by the Institute of Sociology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think-tank, said.
The opinions on trust were collated from the responses from more than 1,900 randomly selected residents in seven cities including Beijing and Shanghai.
When respondents were asked to name institutions that they generally trust, about 69 percent said government, 64 percent public media, 57.5 percent non-governmental organisations, but only about 52 trusted commercial organisations, the report said.
“The study also found that mistrust among different social groups, particularly between government officials and ordinary citizens as well as doctors and patients, had grown.”
Wang Junxiu, who co-edited the blue book from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the low level of trust in China had led to problems such as the waste of resources.
“To improve trust, Wang urged the government to work harder to ensure all powers are under close watch and punish people who operate scams,” the newspaper said.
The report gave anecdotal examples to bolster its claims.
China Daily quoted Ma Jinxin, 27, of Beijing, as saying that he learned about the difficulty of building trust with a stranger at a railway station.
“Ma said he had returned to Beijing after a business trip and needed to call a friend but his cell phone was dead. He asked a man at the station if he could borrow his phone, but "the guy refused and asked me to look for a public phone.”