Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Western world in Chinese Eyes

By China Watcher

In my previous article on European opinions towards China, there were a high percentage of European respondents who think that China actions are a threat to global stability.

From the other end, let us review a poll by Horizon Research Consultancy Group, an independent company, on how Chinese opinions are like towards these few Western countries – France, Britain, Germany and Canada.

The Horizon survey was conducted via telephone between April 18 and 20 on respondents in the age-group from 16 to 65 in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

France which was liked by most Chinese before the survey suffered most with as many as 60% of the Chinese respondents registering a growing dislike for the country and its people. The respondents claimed that the French’s attitude toward the Beijing Olympics had severely dented their impression of the country. The survey also suggested that Canada, Britain and Germany also dropped in the rating, with 64.8 percent, 57.2 percent and 58.1 percent saying they had more negative feelings now.

The poll results clearly reveal simmering resentment among the Chinese toward France following a series of hostile gestures, including disruptions and police non actions to the Olympic torch relay in Paris on April 7.

It is wrong for the Western media to comment that the Chinese were only getting news from its state-controlled media as the Chinese are quite resourceful in its quest for information through the growing contacts with the world and through the Internet. When it comes to the Olympic torch relay and the Tibet issue, 76.9 percent of the respondents said they had access to Western media.

Many of them believe that the state of declining people to people relationship with France and other Western countries are due in large to the bias and prejudicial reporting of the Western media in their own countries. A large portion of the news was one sided and unbalanced with no opinions coming from the Chinese side – both in China and abroad.

Over in the past few days, I noticed a slight improvement in the reporting with some leeway given to the massive pro-China rallies supporting the torch run, Previously the pro-China rallies were either go unreported (as demonstrated by the torch relay in San Francisco) or it is consigned to a small column which represents only 5-10% of the full report. Some of these reports were as usual focusing more on the protest and the comments from the pro-Tibetan activists and human rights groups (about 70% of the content reporting on the torch run) rather than the actual torch run event like who participated, what it represents, the importance of the event towards the cities development etc.

According to the survey, it was deduced that a majority of the respondents, or 82.5 percent, opposed linking the Olympics with Tibet or human rights. Further, Chinese people's enthusiasm for the Olympics has not been dampened by the recent turn of events.

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