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Negative views of China rise sharply in advanced countries

Author: AP
Publication: The Times of India
Date: October 6, 2020
URL:      https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/negative-views-of-china-rise-sharply-in-advanced-countries/articleshow/78517710.cms

Negative perceptions of China have increased sharply in many of the world's advanced countries, especially in Australia and Britain, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center released Tuesday.

The poll comes as China is engaged in multiple trade and diplomatic disputes with its neighbors and other countries around the world, driven in part by a more aggressive diplomatic approach.

The survey conducted across 14 countries showed a majority of people had an unfavorable view of China. It was conducted from June 10 to August 3 among 14,276 adults across the 14 countries via telephone.

People losing faith in Chinese President Xi Jinping
Percentage of people who have no confidence in Xi Jinping to do the right thing regarding world affairs

 

2019 (%)

2020 (%)

'19-'20 change

US

50

77

27

Australia

54

79

25

Italy

54

75

21

Germany

61

78

17

Netherlands

53

70

17

UK

60

76

16

Sweden

67

82

15

Canada

60

74

14

France

69

80

11

South Korea

74

83

9

Spain

66

75

9

Japan

81

84

3

Belgium

 

73

 

Denmark

 

82

 

The survey was not conducted in 2019 in Belgium and Denmark
Source: Pew Research Centre

In Australia, 81% said they have an unfavorable view of China, according to the survey, a rise of 24 percentage points from last year.

The rise corresponds with higher tensions in the bilateral relationship after Australia led the call for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus. China responded on the trade front, suspending imports of Australian beef, putting high tariffs on barley from the country and starting an anti-dumping probe into imports of Australian wine.

While the poll showed Australia had the sharpest increase in negative attitudes toward China, other countries also showed an upward trend: Those with an unfavorable view toward China hit 74% in Britain, a rise of 19 percentage points compared to last year; 71% in Germany, a rise of 15 points; and 73% in the US, a rise of 13 points.

The 14 countries surveyed were the US, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Australia, Japan and South Korea. The margin of error for the survey ranged from 3.1 percentage points in South Korea to 4.2 percentage points in Belgium.

In most countries surveyed, those with higher income levels were equally likely as those with lower levels of income to hold the negative views. The negative views also held across education levels, as those with a postsecondary degree or more were equally likely to have unfavorable views of China as those with less education.

Further, in nine of the surveyed countries — Spain, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, the US, the UK, South Korea, Sweden and Australia — negative views have reached their highest level in the 12 or more years that the center has been conducting the survey in those countries, according to Pew Research Center.

Unfavourable views of China prevail
Percentage of people who have differing views of China

 

Very Unfavourable

Somewhat Unfavourable

Very/Somewhat Favourable

US

42

31

22

Canada

37

36

23

Sweden

36

49

14

Denmark

32

43

22

UK

35

39

22

Netherlands

29

44

25

Belgium

32

39

24

Germany

23

48

25

France

26

44

26

Spain

29

34

36

Italy

26

36

38

Japan

52

34

9

Australia

45

36

15

South Korea

29

46

24

All values are in percentage
Source: Pew Research Center

Many democratic countries around the world, including those surveyed, condemned China earlier this year when it pushed through a new national security law in Hong Kong that critics say infringe on rights promised to the former British colony when it was handed to Chinese rule.

One of the most important factors with regard to China's reputation abroad has been the coronavirus. The virus emerged late last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has since spread around the world. China has been criticized for not being fast enough in its initial response and for attempting to cover up early reports of the virus.

The survey found a majority held a negative view of how China has handled the coronavirus, with a median of 61% across the 14 countries saying China had handled the outbreak poorly. Even more respondents — 84% — said the US has handled the outbreak poorly.

Those who believed China did poorly in dealing with the pandemic were much more likely to view the country in a negative light.

Citizens in the surveyed countries also do not trust China's leader Xi Jinping, with a median of 78% saying they do not have confidence in him to do the right thing in world affairs.

Only US President Donald Trump had a worse reputation among those surveyed, with a median of 83% saying they do not trust him.

Trump has been one of the most vocal critics of China, continuing to blame Beijing for the coronavirus while trying to play down the impact the virus has had in the US, which has reported the world's highest death toll from Covid-19.

 

 
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