Pew Reveals Sharp Divisions in Global Opinions on China

July 11, 2024

Pew Reveals Sharp Divisions in Global Opinions on China

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center has shed light on the world’s perception of China’s economic influence, revealing a striking divide between high-income and middle-income countries.

The study polled about 40,000 respondents across 35 nations and found that China’s economic impact is widely felt globally. In fact, 10 out of 13 countries with historical data reported an increase in China’s economic influence compared to five years ago.

However, the reception of this influence varies dramatically. Middle-income countries view China’s economic presence positively, with 47% of adults in these nations seeing it as beneficial. In contrast, high-income countries are more skeptical, with 57% perceiving China’s economic impact negatively.

Americans stand out as the most critical, with three-quarters of respondents viewing China’s influence on the U.S. economy unfavorably.

The survey also touched on perceptions of Chinese leadership, businesses, and China’s role in global peace and stability. Notably, high-income European countries generally hold negative views of China and President Xi Jinping, while middle-income nations in sub-Saharan Africa are significantly more positive.

Experts like He Weiwen from the Center for China and Globalization caution against overgeneralization. He points out sampling limitations and suggests that the divide may stem from differing economic relationships and political climates.

Interestingly, media coverage of the report varies widely:

  • Radio Free Asia: Titled its coverage “Global Views of China and Xi Jinping Are Largely Negative.”
  • RFI: Focused on “Pew Survey Shows US Favored Over China in Many Countries.”
  • Deutsche Welle and Voice of America: Emphasized the predominantly negative views of China among Americans.
  • Global Times (China): Highlighted the positive reception of China in middle-income countries.
  • The Pew survey’s geographical distribution primarily included high-income countries and a selection of middle-income nations, with large regions in Asia and Africa not represented.


    Panda Academia: China’s Newest Higher Education Innovation

    China has just launched its first-ever Giant Panda College. This unique institution, set to welcome its inaugural class of 50 undergraduate students, is more than just a quirky addition to the country’s higher education landscape—it represents a serious commitment to wildlife conservation and biodiversity research.

    The college, a collaborative effort between the Sichuan Forestry and Grassland Bureau and Xihua Normal University, isn’t just about cuddling these beloved black-and-white bears. Instead, it offers a comprehensive curriculum that spans from bamboo forest ecology to cutting-edge conservation technology.

    “We’re not just teaching students about pandas,” explains Wei Wei, a professor at the college and director of the Rare Animal and Plant Research Institute. “We’re preparing the next generation of wildlife conservation experts.” The faculty includes 22 specialists from prestigious institutions like the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.

    Students will dive into various subjects, from traditional biology and botany to specialized courses on panda conservation biology. But it’s not all classroom learning—the program emphasizes hands-on experience. “From freshman to junior year, we have internship courses,” says Huang Yan, another faculty member. “Students will visit national panda reserves like Liziping and Tangjiahe, as well as research institutes and zoos.”

    The establishment of this college comes at a crucial time for panda conservation. Thanks to China’s efforts, wild panda populations have grown from about 1,100 in the 1980s to nearly 1,900 today. The species has even been downgraded from “endangered” to “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.

    Yet challenges remain. Of the 33 isolated wild panda populations, 18 have fewer than ten individuals. The college aims to address these issues by training students in advanced conservation techniques, including reintroduction programs for captive-bred pandas.

    As Professor Liu Dingzhen of Beijing Normal University humorously notes, there’s still much to learn about these charismatic creatures. “We’ve been studying how pandas’ make phone calls’ to each other through urine markings,” he says. “Interestingly, pandas from Sichuan ‘speak’ differently than those from Qinling.”

    With its blend of scientific rigor and hands-on experience, the Giant Panda College is set to play a crucial role in China’s ongoing efforts to protect its national treasure. As the first students prepare to embark on their unique educational journey, the world watches with interest—and perhaps a touch of panda-monium.

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