American influence and the Covid-19 pandemic ensure China does not fare well among developed nations in opinion polls. The latest, by the United States-based Pew Research Centre , show unfavourable views at an all-time high in nine of 14 countries surveyed, many the world’s leading economies. But no matter how negative the perceptions, the reality is that Beijing offers the best way back to global health and recovery. Rather than shunning and isolating Chinese and their companies, there has to be acceptance of differences and cooperation. Anti-China sentiment in the US, with President Donald Trump blaming Beijing for the country’s coronavirus crisis and domestic ills, has unsurprisingly fuelled negative perceptions among Americans. But China’s increasingly strident approach to diplomatic and trade relations in response has also led to unfavourable opinion among a majority in all other nations surveyed, and to record disapproval in Australia, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, South Korea, Spain and Canada. Confidence in President Xi Jinping is similarly affected, with a median of 78 per cent of respondents saying they have little or no faith in his involvement in international affairs. Only in Japan and Spain are negative views not at historic highs. But perceptions of the US and Trump have also fallen and the American leader is trusted even less than Xi. Neither nation is perceived as having competently handled Covid-19, although China is seen in a more favourable light. Such results would appear to cast a gloomy outlook on the world being able to move forward. Another aspect of Pew’s research points in a positive direction, though. Many of those surveyed, especially in Europe, see China as the world’s most important economic power; only in the US and its Asian allies, Japan and South Korea, is there disagreement. That may well be because China is the first major nation to get a firm grip on Covid-19 and return its economy to growth. The World Bank estimates Chinese GDP this year will grow by 2 per cent, while forecasting significant contractions for much of the rest of the world. A Covid-19 vaccine is widely seen as the best way to get the global economy back on track by returning life to normal. Fresh outbreaks of the disease continue around the world and there are fears of a new wave as winter and the flu season approach. China is a key player in the research and development of such a drug, with Chinese firms involved in four of the 10 potential vaccines in the final stage of human trials. A continued Chinese economic recovery means trade and supply chains can also get back on track. Beijing needs to work on its image, but there is also a reality for nations with negative perceptions; only by setting aside differences and working together along with China can they move beyond Covid-19.