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  • Dec 21, 2014
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China to replace America as the leading superpower, survey finds

Public's view of China not favourable, Pew survey finds

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 July, 2013, 11:41am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 July, 2013, 3:07am

China will replace America as the leading superpower, according to an international global attitudes survey released on Thursday, even though just half of the nations polled view China favourably.

And only one in every four nations thinks China respects the personal freedom of its people. In comparison, 95 per cent of nations think the US government respects its citizens’ personal freedoms in the survey which was conducted before Edward Snowden's surveillance revelations were made public.

These are among the major findings of the Pew Research Centre’s Global Attitudes Project, which conducted surveys in 39 countries among 37,653 respondents from March 2 to May 1, 2013. It is the first study to gauge public responses to China to such a large scale.

“It would appear that the treatment of personal freedom is a very strong indicator of favourability, and that’s a data point the Chinese government has to think about,” said Bruce Stokes, director of the Global Attitudes project.

Global perceptions about the balance of power have shifted since the financial crisis in 2008, with Pew surveys showing that more people now think China either already has or will eventually become the world’s dominant power.

Even in America, nearly half of respondents said China has or will replace the U.S. as the top global power.

Stokes said China’s rise could be a factor in its low favourability ratings: “When you’re considered the biggest guy on the block, you may not be liked,” he said.

The numbers of Chinese and Americans who hold positive views of the other country have plunged in the past two years. In Pew global survey results from two years ago, 51 per cent of Americans expressed a positive view of China compared with 37 per cent now. Similarly, 58 per cent of Chinese had a favourable opinion of America in 2010 while only 40 per cent do today.

Xu Guoqi, a Sino-foreign relations expert at the University of Hong Kong and author of Olympic Dreams, said that China’s global image suffers from a lack of direction in its foreign policy.

“The big problem with Chinese foreign policy is that it lacks long term thinking of [American] policies in the 19th and 20th centuries. China does not even have clearly defined national interests. For example, nobody today in Beijing can answer the following question: Whose interest is more important, the Communist Party's or national interest? What will the government do if there is clash between party's interest and national interest?”

Unsurprisingly, the Japanese have the lowest regard for China by a wide margin, with only 5 per cent expressing a positive view of China. The feeling is mutual. Only 4 per cent of Chinese see Japan favourably.

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This article is now closed to comments

santini
If history is indeed repeating itself then all countries rise and fall many times. I don't think that the period of Mongol conquest is exactly a moment of "Chinese" Empire nor is the non-Han "Manchu" periods. Europe has had Rome, Macedonian empire under Alexander, Charlemagne, Iberian Reconquista. It also survived "barbarian" invasions, a failed crusade in the Middle East, much bloodshed for religious sectarianism called the reformation/couterreformation. Up and down, up and down. It's the process that counts not the end result.
rukezimyrageseso@tempomail.fr
**** you then
willis.forster
The opinion is right because we have elected a bunch of socialist morons that are destroying our country in the name of "change". A new administration will not be able to save us from decline because the damage done by unrestricted immigration and abortion can not be undone. Our culture is degraded, diseased, and embracing depravity. Great nations are not built on baby killing and sexual perversion.
santini
Dear Silent is the night,
Quoting Napoleon is not exactly helpful for your argument given how he ended up. Oh, and the U.S. is NOT an Empire, and it doesn't have an emperor.
hard times !
right,there is no emperor in the States, but Obama and his predecessors used to act like they rule the world and actually by its world-wide navy and her world-wide cybersurveillance done by her National Security Agency which is directly responsible to the President.
santini
Rule the world huh, wow I think you give foreigners too much credit. Navy's are obsolete. Militaries are giant jobs programs to keep millions of young men doing something. Officers at NSA can listen to anything they want but the question is, do they understand what they are listening to.
thynkaboutyt
Quotes from this link:
"In 28 of 38 nations, half or more of those surveyed express a favorable opinion of the U.S. And across these nations, a median of 63% have a positive view of America."
"China is viewed favorably in just 19 of 38 nations. Overall, a median of 50% have a positive view of China."
impala
I would really like to know who are the 30-odd% of misinformed people that believe China respects the personal freedom of its people. They definitely have some reading up to do about things in China like the one-child policy, media censorship, freedom of religion, the hukou system, the non-independent judiciary, expropriation practices, the Great Firewall, and so on.

Also, your text says that "95 per cent of nations think the US government respects its citizens’ personal freedoms." Your chart does not. It is all a little hard to see, but the chart would not have more than 70% of respondents saying 'Yes' to that statement. So 95% or 70%, which is it please?

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