Global attitude poll reinforces old thinking

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-6-26 0:48:01

Arecent global attitude survey taken by Washington-based Pew Research Center outlines how the world views the US and China. Polling more than 45,000 people in 40 countries earlier this year, the survey found that China is seen increasingly favorably across the world, with a median of 55 percent of countries polled expressing a positive opinion about China. Other key findings are also indicative of the trajectory of Sino-US relations and the climate of international public opinion. Ratings for the US are mostly positive. A median of 69 percent of respondents continue to feel positively about the US, even though the US gets critical reviews from the Middle East for its long-term meddling and from Europe for its widespread espionage activities. 

Almost half of the countries polled believe that the US economy is still the strongest, but it needs to be noted that 27 out of the 40 countries believe that China will replace or has replaced the US as a superpower. 

China, meanwhile, lost points from respondents because it "does not respect personal freedom," and engages in intense territorial disputes with neighboring countries. 

International public opinion, dominated by the West, continues to observe China and the US-China relationship through an old-fashioned lens. The result of the poll is seemingly highlighting the rivalry between the two countries and stressing the possibility that China will surpass the US eventually. 

Given that the result of the survey will be a reference for US policymaking, this perspective of Sino-US relations by many Western media and pundits breeds unnecessary distrust. 

Within China, surpassing the US does not dominate the thoughts of the general public. Chinese people are aware that it is not even close in terms of quality of life. 

The achievements of the last three decades give China strength and confidence to walk along its own path, but human rights is still the issue that has a polarizing effect between China and the outside world. 

Projecting a positive image matters to both China and the US, as they are influential major powers. 

It is beyond all doubt that few countries can do better than the US in maintaining its overall image by combining hard and soft power, despite the battering its reputation has taken over its Middle East policies and a series of spying scandals. 

The improvement in China's image, on the one hand, stems from its robust economic growth over several decades, which shows the international community China's vitality and resilience. 

On the other hand, opening its arms wider to the world, China has managed to clear away many trite misunderstandings the outside world had harbored. More openness has become an irreversible trend in China.

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