China’s Positive Ratings dip 9% in India, Remain High in Pakistan

BEIJING: China’s positive ratings in India have dipped with a new opinion poll showing 34 per cent of Indians view it favourably compared to 43 per cent in an earlier survey, but 85 per cent of Pakistanis rated it as a friendly nation.

The survey, conducted by US-based Pew Research Centre to gauge the world wide perspectives about China, showed that 52 per cent Indians viewed China unfavourably while 34 per cent gave it a favourable rating.

The new polls showed a nine per cent dip in the favourable rating enjoyed by China in India as an earlier survey conducted by Chinese firm Horizan research consultancy group between 2000 and 2009 showed that 43 per cent Indians considered China as a partner and 23 per cent regarded it as hostile.

Results of the PEW survey published in the state-run China Daily here showed an interesting pattern with Beijing receiving its best ratings in Kenya where 86 per cent viewed it favourably compared to 10 per cent negatively.

According to the survey conducted in 22 nations from April 7 to May 8 this year, China understandably enjoyed high positive rating of 85 per cent in Pakistan. Only three per cent of Pakistanis interviewed gave unfavourable rating to China, projected as all-weather friend.

The rising Asian power, however, received mixed ratings across the world. Thirty six per cent viewed China unfavourably in United States against 49 per cent, 46 per cent regarded it positively in Britain against 35 per cent, 41 per cent against 59 in France.

China received good ratings in Russia too where 60 per cent viewed it favourably compared to 29 per cent negative perceptions.

Among the countries where China was viewed mostly negatively was Japan which has historic disputes with China. Sixty nine per cent Japanese viewed China unfavourably compared to 26 per cent otherwise.

In Germany, 61 per cent viewed China negatively compared to 30 per cent and 61 per cent view Beijing negatively compared to 20 per cent in Turkey.

Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who co-chaired the Pew global attitudes project, noted at a Washington news conference on Thursday that China is regarded highly as a result of the country’s fast economic growth. “Their star is clearly rising,” she said.

In addition to China’s economic growth rate, Albright attributed the trend to the increased willingness of the Chinese side to “be a part of the solution to global issues”, which include the world economic crisis, Korean Peninsula denuclearisation and the Iran nuclear issue.

“A lot more people now know about China and have been to China,” she said, citing the Beijing Olympic Games and Shanghai Expo as examples of China’s improved “visibility” on the global stage, which promotes a better understanding of the country.

A Beijing-based international analyst Pang Zhongyin said the result of the poll is nothing new and Beijing still needs to step up efforts to strengthen communication with the world.

Being the “factory of the world”, China has contributed a lot to the world economy and its influence has kept growing, especially after the global financial crisis, Pang said.

“And such emerging economic power is unfortunately accompanied by misgivings from other countries and we need to convince the world that China is not what they imagine,” he said.

Pang emphasised the importance of public diplomacy, saying the Chinese government, from the top leader to the ordinary diplomat, has gradually taken the idea in mind.

He noted that Premier Wen Jiabao’s recent interactions with local people during his visit to the Republic of Korea and Japan is a good example of extending the message that China is not a threat.

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