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How Do Chinese Citizens Feel About Other Countries?

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Chinese sentiment to other countries

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Public Opinion: How Chinese Citizens Feel About Other Countries

Tensions over Taiwan, the COVID-19 pandemic, trade, and the war in Ukraine have impacted Chinese sentiment towards other countries.

This visualization uses data from the Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS) at Tsinghua University to rank survey responses from the Chinese public on their attitudes towards countries and regions around the world.

Chinese Sentiment Towards Other Countries in 2023

In the Center’s opinion polls, which surveyed a random sample of more than 2,500 Chinese mainland adults in November 2022, Russia came out significantly ahead.

Just under 60% of respondents held Russia in a favorable view, with 19% seeing the country as “very favorable.” Contrast that to the mere 12% that viewed the U.S. in a positive light.

Here’s a closer look at the data. The percentages refer to the share of respondents that voted for said category.

Country/RegionVery
Unfavorable
Somewhat
Unfavorable
NeutralSomewhat
Favorable
Very
Favorable
🇺🇸 United States37.4%21.7%28.7%9.2%3.0%
🇯🇵 Japan 38.4%19.1%29.4%10.7%2.3%
🇮🇳 India25.4%25.2%41.5%6.7%1.3%
🇰🇷 South Korea17.4%21.0%47.6%11.8%2.1%
🇪🇺 European Union9.3%15.6%57.6%14.1%3.3%
Southeast Asia7.1%13.1%59.5%16.8%3.5%
🇷🇺 Russia3.0%4.8%33.7%39.4%19.0%

Japan ranked just below the U.S. in terms of overall unfavorability, though a slightly higher share of respondents saw Japan as “very unfavorable” compared to America. This is likely due to both modern tensions in the East China Sea over mutually claimed islands and historical tensions over the Sino-Japanese Wars.

Chinese sentiment towards India was also unfavorable at just over 50%, though notably the country also received the lowest favorability rating at just 8%.

Additional Survey Findings

The survey also found that 39% of Chinese people get their information on international security from Chinese state-run media (mainly through TV), with an additional 19% getting information from government websites and official social accounts. Conversely, only 1.7% get their news from foreign websites and foreign social media, partially due to the Great Firewall.

When asked about different international security issues, the biggest shares of Chinese citizens ranked the following as their top three:

  1. Pandemics (12.9%)
  2. Disputes over territory and territorial waters (12.9%)
  3. China-U.S. relations (12.0%)

The pandemic’s high score reflects the harsher impact COVID-19 had on China. Chinese borders were shut for years and the public faced intense measures to reduce spread.

In terms of other world events, the majority of Chinese people align with a more “Eastern” viewpoint. For example, in regards to the war in Ukraine, the report found that:

“About 80 percent of the respondents believe the U.S. and Western countries should be held most accountable [for the war], while less than ten percent of the respondents argue that Russia is mainly responsible.”– Center for International Security and Strategy, Tsinghua University

Overall, the views of the Chinese public reflect the opposite of those found in many Western countries. They provide an important insight that it is not just the Chinese government holding particular views about the world, but the Chinese public as well.

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