01/18/2022, 17.20
CHINA
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High public support for China at home, low abroad

The Edelman Trust Barometer found that trust in China’s government stood at 83 per cent. In liberal democracies, public support for leaders has plunged, except in India, largely due to the way they tackled the COVID-19 pandemic and handled the economy. Among advanced economies, only Singapore and Greece see China more favorably than the United States.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Public trust among Chinese in their country’s institutions stood at 83 per cent, a new high, this according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.

For the past 20 years, the global communications firm has vetted public opinion in various countries to measure support for governments, media, businesses and non-governmental organisations.

In its latest trust and credibility survey (November 2021), based on interviews with 36,000 respondents in 28 countries, it reports a decline in trust in democratic governments.

Above all, people are critical of the way their country’s institutions have managed the pandemic and planned for economic recovery, despite trillions of dollars spent by national government to support the economy. By contrast, dictatorships and autocracies have scored far better.

In the United Arab Emirates for instance, public trust in the country’s rulers stood at 76 per cent (up 9 per cent in one year); in Thailand, support for the government led by former coup leader, General Prayuth Chan-ocha has reached 66 per cent, up 5 per cent.

Compared to 2020, public trust in China’s government has risen 11 percentage points. Recent COVID-19 outbreaks in China have not affected public support for the country’s leaders despite the impact on the economy, nor have the higher cost of living, last summer’s energy crisis or growing tensions with the United States.

In China, two-thirds were optimistic about their economic prospects, whereas only 15 per cent of Japanese think that they and their families would be better off economically in five years’ time, with most other democracies ranging around 20-40 per cent.

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, high public support for Chinese authorities is not only due to economic perceptions, but also a greater sense of predictability about Chinese policy, Reuters reports.

Abroad, attitudes towards China are considerably different though. The latest Pew Research Center study found that out of 17 advanced economies, only two view China more favorably than the United States.

One is Singapore, the only country in the group with a strong authoritarian tendency; the other is Greece, where the China Ocean Shipping Company has run the port of Piraeus since 2016.

Still, like respondents in other countries, Greeks trust US President Joe Biden more than his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, while Singaporeans are more evenly divided between the two.

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