Poll: Most countries view China positively

08:04, June 21, 2010      

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Overall views of China held by people from all over the world remained largely steady in the past year, with the general public in most nations viewing the country as a partner, according to a major survey released on Thursday.

The Pew Research Center survey, conducted in 22 nations from April 7 to May 8, found that in most Western countries, more people view China positively than those who view it negatively.

In the United States, 49 percent of those interviewed held positive views of China, compared to 36 percent who thought of the country negatively. In Spain, the figure was 47 to 38, and in Britain 46 to 35. The majority of public in France and Germany held China in a negative light.

In Eastern Europe and the developing world, China's ratings remain strong. About 60 percent of Russians view China positively, and with the exception of Turkey, the majority in Muslim nations view China positively.

China is also well received in Latin America and Africa.

Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who co-chaired the Pew global attitudes project, noted at a Washington news conference on Thursday that China is regarded highly as a result of the country's fast economic growth.

"Their star is clearly rising," she said.

Apart from this generally positive view, large majorities in African countries, as well as sizable numbers in three Latin American countries polled, view China as a partner.

In addition to China's economic growth rate, Albright attributed the trend to the increased willingness of the Chinese side to "be a part of the solution to global issues", which include the world economic crisis, Korean Peninsula denuclearization and the Iran nuclear issue.

"A lot more people now know about China and have been to China," she said, citing the Beijing Olympic Games and Shanghai Expo as examples of China's improved "visibility" on the global stage, which promotes a better understanding of the country.

However, people in the US and Japan who view China as a partner still remain in minority despite their percentage in the general population has seen a 10-point increase respectively over the past year.

A Beijing-based international analyst Pang Zhongyin said the result of the poll is nothing new and Beijing still needs to step up efforts to strengthen communication with the world.

Being the "factory of the world", China has contributed a lot to the world economy and its influence has kept growing, especially after the global financial crisis, Pang said.

"And such emerging economic power is unfortunately accompanied by misgivings from other countries and we need to convince the world that China is not what they imagine," he said.

Pang emphasized the importance of public diplomacy, saying the Chinese government, from the top leader to the ordinary diplomat, has gradually taken the idea in mind.

He noted that Premier Wen Jiabao's recent interactions with local people during his visit to the Republic of Korea and Japan is a good example of extending the message that China is not a threat.

Source:China Daily/Xinhua


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