• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 2:54am

China's image takes a battering as majority of nations brand it a 'negative influence'

Survey of 25 countries and EU sees rise in 'mostly negative' rating and decline in 'mostly positive' rating, with analysts divided on reasons

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 May, 2013, 8:57am


  • Negative involvement in international affairs: 23%
  • Uncivilized behaviour of tourists: 57%
  • Stalled political reform: 19%
24 May 2013
  • Negative involvement in international affairs
  • Uncivilized behaviour of tourists
  • Stalled political reform
Total number of votes recorded: 1,089

Global views of China's influence have deteriorated sharply, according to a poll conducted for the BBC's World Service, reaching their lowest level in years.

Analysts said the change reflected China's increasing positive and negative involvement in international affairs.

The 2013 Country Ratings Poll asked 26,299 people in 25 nations between December and April to rate 16 countries and the European Union on whether their influence in the world was "mostly positive" or "mostly negative".

Views on China's influence dropped to the lowest level since the poll began in 2005, with positive views falling eight points to 42 per cent and negative views rising eight points to 39 per cent.

China ranked ninth, behind the US. Of the 25 countries surveyed, 12 held positive views of China, 13 negative views. China ranked fifth in the 2011-2012 poll.

Perceptions of China have deteriorated markedly within the EU, with the percentage of negative views highest in France and second-highest in Spain. In both countries the negative response rose by 19 points in the latest survey, to 68 per cent in France and 67 per cent in Spain.

Views from regions closer to China were not much better, with Australian views on China's influence plunging dramatically. In the previous survey they were 61 per cent positive and 29 per cent negative but that swung around to 36 per cent positive and 55 per cent negative in the latest survey.

The Japanese response was the most negative among the countries surveyed, with only 5 per cent holding positive views against 64 per cent holding negative views.

In return, the country with the highest negative rating in China was Japan, with just 17 per cent of Chinese holding positive views and 74 per cent viewing Japan negatively, up nine points.

China had one of the most negative attitudes towards the US, with only one in five Chinese respondents holding a positive view, down nine points, and 57 per cent holding negative views.

Dr Lin Limin, from the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, said China's image may have been affected by escalating disputes with neighbours and some negative images of rude Chinese tourists and investors, but it was more a reflection of China's rising power.

"Like (the US) the No1 man, (China) being the No2 man will unavoidably be criticised, which means we are more active in the international arena," Lin said.

Professor Qiao Mu , of Beijing Foreign Studies University, said the rating had put China in an "embarrassing" position, compared to the nation's rising economic power and the national image it sought to project.

"It seems China is getting rich fast but its influence ranking is dropping dramatically," Qiao said. "China is drawing more attention globally, for its increasing foreign aid and participation in international affairs, but now it turns out that the values and the political system China holds are not accepted by the world."

The poll is conducted by GlobeScan, an international polling firm, and the Programme on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.


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This article is now closed to comments

This is not surprising at all. China continues to be pretty poor in PR, does not want to even try to understand why. People like me have tried to explain to Chinese authorities but we could as well shout in the desert. Of course the Western media are biased but the Chinese officials are happy, it seems, to feed them the ammunition. I even don't want to start giving examples. We just wonder, when will they ever learn? The 2008 Olympics had actually boosted China's image (even with some mistakes they had made) but then they shot themselves in the foot. Again and again. Do note that at one point I was the public face of the Beijing City so I have a pretty good insight of what can be done right – and how to mess up. And if some readers dislike the SCMP and this article: shut up, don't read the SCMP anymore. I suggest to read Global Times. Suits those people perfectly (I refuse interviews by that newspaper).
Carioca no Coracao
according to this survey, US is about the same as China... US has a better perceived image than China but only by a tiny margin. when you are big/powerful, you incur envy, indignation from others. chinese proverb on this human nature, "despise the rich, shun the poor".
This is inadequate journalism. At least the complete ranking should be published to see how other countries fared relative to China's image.
Carioca no Coracao
anyone with good info please advise?
1. what was Spain's "image" when she was conquering empire from Americas to Asia circa 1490s?
2. what was Britain's "image" when she was busy building the British Imperial Empire conquering Asia, Africa, Americas, Australia....... circa 1815s?
3. what was America's "image" when Teddy Roosevelt american empire from Latin America, Hawaii, Philippines, Japan.....circa 1900s?
i don't know so i ask.... -:)
hard times !
to speak the truth,the values (not universal values such as democracy,liberty,rule of law and respect towards human rights and animal rights which fate are among the worst in the world) and the political system---an autocratic capitalism of the powerful feudal system which claims to carry Chinese characteristics--Mainand China(Red China) holds are not accepted by the world (excluding Cuba,N.Korea and ...of course).Of course,the poor rating has placed Chinese Communist government in an embarrassing position indeed.
paying off some corrupt leaders in africa to steal their natural resources is not "foreign aid"

This article, like all SCMP’s post on China is basically biased. Actually, China hasn’t done so badly. Of the 25 countries surveyed only 13 had negative views which give it a 50/50 standing – a normal outcome for any country. The article then goes to emphasise China’s standing in places where she is sure too rate low like the EU (who regards China as the anti-thesis of what it admires/believe in & doing well at that), Australia & Japan which needs no explanation. I was surprised though to see the US & Britain fared better than China considering the horrible hatred that is boiling the heart of many Muslims/antagonists around the world.
Really? I was on KA 864 last week and this xiao mei mei, who apparently spoke perfect English with an American accent, sitting next to a mid 50's American Man, decided that everyone enjoys sitting next to a pile of newspapers that she proceeded throughout the flight to drop into a pile on the floor between her seat and mine. She not only did not fold them up, she ripped pages out as she read the papers. When I finally said, "That's not a good habit...", her American Man said "That's not a good habit?" to me. I just shook my head, pointed at the mess, and asked him, "Do you think this is a good habit, to purposely make a pile of garbage for others to sit in?". Hapless American man looked, and probably realized that he wasn't going to come out of this discussion looking smart, so backed off. Moral of the story? You can take the mei mei out of Mainland, but you can't take the Mainland out of mei mei.
Whatever the value and meaning of opinion polls anywhere, Mainland Chinese public opinion is so dictated by what the CCP propaganda machine lets the people know that it can be of very little value at all other than to prove how easy it is to manipulate the population. In better informed countries with free news media, increasing awareness of China's territorial and economic aggrandizement, bullying of smaller neighbouring nations, its endemic culture of official corruption, the bad manners of its tourists, its secretive and sinister arms build up, its appalling record in human rights and civil liberties, all contribute to a very unsavoury picture of its system, which the CCP keeps asserting is better than the West's democracies.
What about the age of colonization? Don't criticize China when the europeans enslaved primitives, and through their debts kept them enslaved throughout the 20th century. I heard they decided to 'write off' these debts in recent years.
I keep running into fools who think its convenient to forget the earlier centuries but blame China for recent decades. I think we lost two opium wars, an age where drug dealing was legal and the likes of swire and jardine were able to get rich on the backs of chinese.
Merely smears and small minded people with no grasp of history or what is right or wrong....



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