A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center has shed light on a concerning trend for China’s international image as a formidable economic powerhouse. Despite being recognized as the world’s second-largest economy, China is grappling with negative perceptions in several high- and middle-income countries.
The comprehensive survey encompassed more than 30,000 adults across 24 countries, revealing that a median of 67 per cent of respondents expressed unfavourable views about Beijing, while only 28 per cent shared positive sentiments. This dip in popularity is particularly pronounced in high-income countries such as Australia, Sweden, South Korea, and Japan. Notably, even the United States displayed a significant level of negativity, with 50 per cent of respondents considering Beijing as the greatest threat to Washington, compared to a mere 17 per cent who named Moscow.
Nevertheless, the survey also brought to light some variations in opinions among middle-income countries. Countries like Indonesia, Nigeria, and Mexico expressed relatively more positive views of China. This inclination could be attributed to various factors, including China’s pivotal role in supplying 5G internet to middle-income nations and its active involvement in large-scale infrastructure projects like the Belt and Road Initiative.
However, India stands out as an exception among middle-income countries, as its relations with China have suffered due to lingering border disputes in the Himalayan region.
In essence, this survey underscores the challenges China faces in maintaining a positive international image as its economic influence continues to surge. The prevalence of negative perceptions in high-income countries serves as a crucial indicator for China to address and redress concerns while working diligently to enhance its reputation on the global stage. As China’s economic prowess continues to grow, nurturing positive perceptions and fostering constructive international relations will be imperative to garner greater support and trust from the international community.