According to the Global Attitudes Survey of the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan US pollster and research institute, Europeans’ attitudes toward China are quite mixed, although overall more negative than those beyond most of Europe’s shores. They are not as negative as those of US Americans, who have the most pejorative opinion of China in the world. The survey polled 34,904 people in 32 countries between May 13 to Aug. 29, 2019. (The Pew Center website provides comparisons to polls conducted on opinion about China from as far back as 2005.)
As the People’s Republic of China celebrates the its 70th birthday, it appears that the world’s nations are split over its current incarnation as world power and its policies as such. It should be noted that the poll was taken during the ongoing Hong Kong protests but before they turned openly violent.
Across the 32 countries, 41% told the Pew pollsters that they harbored favourable opinions of China; 37%, on the other hand, said that they have an unfavourable opinion of the People’s Republic.
In Europe, Greeks seem to think the most of China at 51%. In the other European nations, the view is overwhlmingly negative: from from 53% in Spain to 70% in Sweden. In all of the European countries polled except for Greece and Italy, China’s rating fell from that of last year’s polls, in some cases precipitously.
Worldwide, Kenya, Russia, and Nigeria see China in the most favorable light – more than than any other countries. In Isreal and Poland, opinions about China improved over last year by 10 percenatge points . In the US and Canada, however, China’s positive numbers dropped egregiously, by 12% and 17% respectively. In Sweden, favorability also dropped by 17%.
The Pew Center speculates that in Canada unfavorable opinion jumped by 22 points as an upshot of “the high-profile arrest of technology company Huawei’s chief financial officer and the ensuing Canadian-Chinese trade conflict.”
In the Middle East, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, majorities or pluralities expressed favourable views of China.
The Pew Center notes that: “Younger people tend to have a more positive stance on China across most of the countries surveyed. In 20 countries, adults ages 18 to 29 have more favourable views than those ages 50 and older.“ The gap is greatest in Brazil, where 67% of younger adults view China favourably, while only 40% of older adults felt the same way.