10/01/2019, 13.09
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The world is divided over China amid fear and suspicion

Today is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. A US-based think tank releases the latest poll results on attitudes in 32 countries over China. The communist regime gets a negative assessment from most of its neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region.

Washington (AsiaNews) – Most of the world agrees that China's influence on the world scene has grown considerably in recent years, but this has not necessarily translated into a favourable view of the Asian giant, this according to the latest Global Attitudes Survey by the Pew Research Center, a US think tank.

Specialising in social issues, the Washington-based research body released its latest analysis yesterday, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The poll found that a median of 41 per cent across the 32 countries surveyed have a favourable opinion of China, compared with a median of 37 per cent who have an unfavourable opinion.

China's reputation in most of Western Europe is, on balance, negative (table). People in Central and Eastern Europe are more divided in their assessment.

Negative views of China prevail in both the United States and Canada, where 60 per cent and 67 per cent, respectively, see the country unfavourably, the highest unfavourable opinion of China recorded for those countries in the centre’s polling history.

Majorities or pluralities in each of the Middle Eastern, Latin American and sub-Saharan African countries surveyed have a favourable view of China. The opposite is the case among China’s neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region.

In Japan, 85 per cent say they have an unfavourable opinion of China – the most negative among all countries surveyed. More than half in South Korea (63 per cent), Australia (57 per cent) and the Philippines (54 per cent) share this view.

Opinion of China has also fallen across the region over the course of Pew Research Center’s polling and is now hovering at or near historic lows in each of the countries surveyed.

In Indonesia, the change over the past year has been particularly stark, with a favourable view falling to 37 per cent, 17 percentage points lower than in 2002. The poll found the same trend in the Philippines (-21 per cent compared to 17 years ago), South Korea (-32 per cent) and Japan (-41 per cent).

Russians stand out for having the most positive view of China across all countries surveyed (71 per cent favourable).

Similarly, younger people tend to have a more positive stance on China across most of the countries surveyed. In 20 countries, adults aged 50 and older are more hostile towards China than those aged 18 to 29.

(Infographics: Pew Research Center).

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