The use of surveys and questionnaires
This chapter firstly provides a historical overview of the use of Surveys and Questionnaires and examines how Surveys and Questionnaires are employed in a variety of contexts across multiple domains of governance in China. By zooming in on the practices in two locations in Zhejiang province, Qingyuan and Hangzhou, it finds that Surveys and Questionnaires have been employed in an attempt to respond effectively to China’s changing internal environment and the governance challenges this entailed. The realisation that the “reality” and trends had to be understood with the help of an impartial, fact-seeking examination of the conditions “on the ground”, and that it was necessary to capture and respond to the plural interests that have emerged out of social diversification, resulted in increasingly widespread use of Surveys and Questionnaires across the geographical and administrative spectrum in China. Understanding public opinion is instrumental for the government to define the interests at stake with regards to existing or possible government policies, to accordingly align policy-making with public concerns and preferences, and as such, minimise the likelihood of a backlash against, and instead increase satisfaction with, the government and its policies.