Local officials attitude at stake

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-12-16 08:02
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As a part of a school program, an 11-year-old primary student in Beijing conducted tests on mushrooms sold in the market and found that bleach had been used to make 13 of the 14 samples appear fresh. Although local authorities conducted their own tests and denied the student's claim, people still have their doubts, says an article on Xinhuanet. Excerpts:

By all accounts, the public should trust the authorities, especially because an 11-year-old boy is not "qualified" enough to conduct scientific tests. So what makes a majority of the people trust the student and distrust the authorities?

People know that the 11-year-old boy conducted the tests without any motive, even though the method he used, as the local authorities allege, may be questionable.

But the authorities' story is different. Generally speaking, the authorities have tried to conceal/control information whenever a food scandal has broken out.

In many cases, they have either misused their power to suppress public opinion or made some temporary workers the scapegoat. The authorities often seem reluctant to own up their mistakes or oversight.

It's the authorities credibility, rather than the results of the tests they conducted on the mushrooms, which the people are questioning. It's time the authorities did some self-introspection and tried to rebuild their credibility.