|Firefighters spray water to put out a fire in Tianjin, North China, June 30, 2012. A fire broke out at a shopping mall in Tianjin's Jixian County on June 30. Photo: Xinhua|
Several recent social issues, such as protests in Shifang and the shopping mall fire in Jixian county, Tianjin, have showed that official accounts of the disasters were too weak when facing fierce Internet inquires.
The crisis of credibility of the government has repeatedly kept issues from being wrapped up normally, leading to confused public opinion.
Despite the efforts that governments at different levels have made to improve their credibility, in specific cases, the public has perceived the opposite. When a local government mishandles a public affair, an apology is often absent in the aftermath of the emergency, dragging the whole official system down.
To make things more complicated, current leaders are also held by public opinion to be responsible for the mistakes made by previous administrations.
This means that building credibility is a formidable challenge to governments. It involves the most difficult part of grass-roots governance and clearing historical legacies.
Furthermore, not every piece of information should be made public.
However, authorities have to prioritize the task of building credibility. It has become the weakest link in solving mass social disputes.
Due to the lack of government credibility, anti-government voices are gradually going viral.