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Survey: Most Chinese support patriotism

By Duan Congcong (Global Times)

08:31, May 29, 2012

A survey carried out by the Global Times shows that most Chinese people love their country, and more than half said a patriotic atmosphere is normal, a result that contrasts with recent online skepticism that equates patriotism to "nationalism" or "populism."

According to the survey, which collected opinions from more than 1,300 citizens aged over 15 in seven major cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, a total of 98.1 percent people said they are patriots, while only 0.5 percent said they are not.

More than 50 percent of the respondents believe the patriotic atmosphere in China is normal, while some 30 percent of respondents said the atmosphere is weak and are indifferent to it, according to the survey conducted by the Global Poll Center affiliated to the Global Times.

"The survey result shows that patriotism is an absolute and non-negotiable basic emotion of citizens," said Zhou Ning, head of the College of the Humanities at Xiamen University. "Chinese generally think loving their country is justified, and this patriotism is becoming mature."

When asked how one should love the country, about 70 percent of respondents agree that one should protect the country's national interests and support the government during major international disputes.

More than half of respondents also agree that making contributions to public welfare, working hard and living a positive life are also ways to love the country.

However, 8.8 percent of respondents said patriotism involves "pushing for universal values and standing in line with Western countries in important international disputes."

As an increasingly diverse society, it is natural to see some people being indifferent about their country, or even expressing extreme opinions online. But they are just the "active few," said Wu Xinbo, a vice dean of the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University.

"Most Chinese love their motherland, and this patriotism is not politically oriented, but historically and culturally oriented," Wu said.

Some young people admire Western lifestyles and some of their values only when it concerns China's domestic life. But the survey shows that when it comes to national interests, most of them keep a sober mind, Wu said.

When asked about their views on the concept of the State and the government, 43.3 percent respondents hold the two are the same. Some 38 percent of respondents believe they are different but have certain connections. Only 5.5 percent think the two are totally different and that it is possible they can be against each other.

Older respondents show more support for the concept of "State and government being the same" while younger people believe they are different but connected, or that they are opposite. People with higher education believe the two are different but related.

Older people have more awareness of history and like to view things from their own experiences, so they agree that "State and government are the same," Wu said. But younger people judge things according to present situations and compared with other countries.

The tendency of treating the two as the same is growing weaker. The result shows that people's views on the State have changed, he said.

More than 70 percent of respondents disagree that patriotism has been hijacked and that patriotism is one of the biggest obstacles to realizing democracy in China. Only 20 percent agreed with this view.

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