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Survey: China’s image slips further in developed world

WASHINGTON: Increasingly large majorities in the developed world see China unfavorably, with record levels of criticism in the United States, Germany and South Korea, a survey said Wednesday. A 19-nation survey by the Pew Research Center showed a further deterioration of China’s reputation over the past several years, as concerns grow about Beijing’s rising military and economic power, its human rights record and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eighty-two percent of Americans, 80 percent of South Koreans and 74 percent of both Germans and Canadians viewed China unfavorably, the survey said – record levels in each country. China’s unfavorability also hovered around near-record highs of 87 percent in Japan, 86 percent in Australia and 83 percent in Sweden.

China’s reputation eroded especially sharply in South Korea, against which Beijing in 2017 launched a campaign of economic retaliation after Seoul and the United States set up an anti-missile system that the two allies say is in response to North Korea, not China. Beijing has also imposed economic punishment over actions by Australia, where concerns have been heightened in recent months after the country spotted Chinese spy ships near its waters.

China’s image fell even in some nations with which it has comparatively warm relationships. A record 50 percent saw China unfavorably in Greece, which has welcomed major Chinese investment since its economic crisis. One outlier was Zionist entity, where opinions on China were almost evenly divided and, in contrast to Western nations, most people called for prioritizing economic relations even without addressing human rights. The survey took answers from 24,525 adults from February 14 to June 3.

Sowing division

Meanwhile, China has accused Group of Seven countries of irresponsibly sowing division after the forum condemned Beijing’s trade practices in an end-of-summit statement. G7 leaders had slammed China’s “non-transparent and market-distorting” international trade tactics on Tuesday, in a statement that also vowed to reduce “strategic dependencies” on the Asian giant.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Wednesday hit back at the criticism, saying the statement showed the allies were “keen to create divisions and confrontations without any sense of responsibility or morality”. The G7 should “advance globalization” rather than encourage division “at a critical time for the international community fighting the pandemic and striving for economic recovery,” Zhao said at a regular press conference.

The G7 statement, in which leaders pledged to “foster diversification and resilience to economic coercion, and to reduce strategic dependencies,” came hours before the leaders joined a larger group of their counterparts at a NATO summit in Madrid. There, the 30-member alliance was also poised to toughen its stance against Beijing. – AFP

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