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Chinese citizens consider prostitutes more trustworthy than politicians, according to a survey which suggests the Chinese are not that different to Westerners after all.

Hookers came top in the survey by Xiaokang Magazine, China Daily reports, with farmers, religious workers, soldiers and students rounding out the top five.

As the China Daily points out, "this is at the same time surprising and embarrassing. The sex business is illegal and thus underground in this country."

It's worth adding that the official attitude to religion is not particularly welcoming either.

China Daily adds that 91 per cent of China's citizenry takes "government data" with a pinch of salt, up from 79 per cent two years ago. The poll apparently linked this to recent mass incidents - ie riots - which often have anger at local authorities at their heart.

It adds that four key reasons why the citizenry did not trust their rulers were "protectionism, unstable policies, dumb decisions, and lack of transparency".

The central leadership, the state-owned media site adds, have a "people friendly image".

The survey suggests that despite much western concern over Chinese state censorship, including the Great Firewall, citizens are quite capable of coming to their own conclusions about their government.

More intriguing is how they came to such a rosy tinted view of their indigenous sex workers.

China Daily adds of politicians "At least they have not slid into the least credible category, which consists of real estate developers, secretaries, agents, entertainers and directors." ®

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