A new poll released by Pew Global has revealed that China is still struggling to cultivate a positive image abroad, and that a majority of nations (with some notable exceptions) still view the United States as a more favorable superpower than the People’s Republic. Also, Japan’s dislike for all things Chinese nearly broke the survey’s scales.
A measly 5% of Japanese surveyed answered that they had “favorable” impressions of China; the next lowest number after that was Turkey, where 27% answered positively. Some of China’s strongest supporters are also America’s weakest: the USA got a piddling 14% in Jordan compared to China’s 40%, and 16% in Egypt next to China’s 45%.
The biggest gulfs were in Japan (69% pro-American, 5% pro-Chinese) and Pakistan (11% pro-American, 81% pro-Chinese).
Despite China’s positive reviews in much of the Middle East and growing support in Africa, the United States still won the lion’s share of the approval ratings: the global average gives the Americans a 63% favorability rating, compared to China’s 50%.
The Pew report also has these interesting tidbits:
Since the 2008 financial crisis, perceptions about the economic balance of power in the world have been shifting. Looking at the 20 nations surveyed in both 2008 and 2013, the median percentage naming the U.S. as the world’s leading economic power has declined from 47% to 41%, while the median percentage placing China in the top spot has risen from 20% to 34%. […]
However, even in many countries where America is still seen as the top economic power, most believe China will someday become the leading overall superpower. In 23 of 39 nations, majorities or pluralities say China either already has replaced or eventually will replace the U.S. as the top superpower. This view is more common now than it was in 2008, when Pew Research first asked this question. Today, majorities or pluralities in only six countries believe China will never replace the U.S. […]
One of the major challenges for China’s global image is that few believe the Chinese government respects the personal freedoms of its people. In only 11 countries in the survey do at least half hold this view. In contrast, majorities or pluralities in 37 of 39 nations believe the American government respects the individual freedoms of its citizens.