Three decades of economic liberalisation in China have reshaped relationships between the state, market and community to a remarkable degree. In recent years, a growing body of literature has documented the rise of citizen satisfaction surveys in assessing the performance of Chinese local government. Yet little is known about how Chinese local government responds to such surveys. This article addresses this gap. Based on a case study of Foshan City in Guangdong Province, this article shows that information in citizen satisfaction surveys is used in two major ways in this locality: the city's leadership officials use the information to support pre-existing policies while departmental officials use it to improve service delivery. This study shows that, with the rising power of the community, citizen satisfaction surveys can be an important intermediary between the Chinese state and its citizens and help local government to be more responsive to citizen needs.