U.S. Seen Losing To China As World Leader


James T. Areddy -  The Wall Street Journal

SHANGHAI—People in the U.S. and China view each other with increasing suspicion, and many others around the world see the U.S. losing its place to China as the leading economic and political power, a new public opinion poll shows.

According to a survey of around 38,000 people in 39 countries released on Thursday by the Washington-based Pew Research Center, majorities or pluralities in 23 of the nations surveyed said China either has replaced or eventually will oust the U.S. as the world's top superpower. The Chinese don't question their nation's eventual dominance, but Americans are split on the question, the poll found.

The Pew survey is the latest indication that the global impact of China's economic expansion over the past three decades and the 2008 U.S. economic stumble are reordering perceptions about China—the world's most populous nation—and the U.S.—its biggest economy.

"China's economic power is on the rise, and many think it will eventually supplant the United States as the world's dominant superpower," the report concludes.

The new data show a shrinking number of Americans, 47%, believing the U.S. will continue to hold its lead over China, compared with 54% in 2008. By contrast, about two-thirds of Chinese say their country has overtaken the U.S., or eventually will, and 56% say China deserves more respect, Pew found.

The data also suggest deepening mutual suspicion. Only 37% of people in the U.S. view China favorably, similar to the 40% of Chinese who hold a positive view of the U.S. For both countries, the percentages for favorable views have declined since Pew asked the questions in 2008.

Less than a third of the Chinese surveyed described their nation's relationship with the U.S. as cooperative, down sharply from 68%, figures that hew closely to plummeting opinions in China about U.S. President Barack Obama.

Some 23% of Chinese describe the U.S. relationship as hostile. Pew said China is the only non-Islamic country where more than half the people, 54%, hold an unfavorable opinion of Americans.

Still, China has work to do on its own reputation, the survey found. The U.S. commands a 63% favorable rating around the world, and the survey found it is far more often considered by other nations as a partner compared with China, which gets a favorable rating from only half those surveyed elsewhere.

Where China holds positive images is in areas such as science and technology. Such so-called "soft power" influences on others are a particularly strong aspect of the generally positive international image the U.S. holds. "Science and technology are China's most popular soft power," Pew concludes. It found the biggest positive impact across Africa and Latin America. About 59% of Africans appreciate China's business methods, Pew said.

Achievements don't necessarily make China popular. Pew detected widespread distaste for China's military and human rights policies and little interest in its cultural exports.

Still, outright anti-Chinese sentiment is limited around the world, according to Pew. The country is least popular among Japanese, 5% of whom hold a favorable view, with most doubting China will emerge the dominant superpower. While Japanese sentiment follows tension with China over territorial issues, Germans too have grown less positive about China, despite strong exports to the country.

Beijing's strongest supporters include Malaysia, Pakistan, Kenya, Senegal and Nigeria, along with Venezuela, Brazil and Chile. In pockets of Asia, Africa and South America, China is considered a partner, though to most countries China is neither a

In more and more areas, China generates similar sentiment as the U.S. Neither gets good marks for considering how their policy affects citizens elsewhere, for example.

Younger and better-educated people tend to be more positive about both nations. "China's greatest global asset in the future may be its appeal among young adults around the world," Pew found.

China is already the world's leading economic power, say many citizens of nations the U.S. considers its closest allies, including both the U.K. and Germany. People living closer to China, including Japan and South Korea, say the U.S. is at the top; those nations report growing suspicion about China's military ambition. "One of the major challenges for China's global image is that few," only 11 countries surveyed, "believe the Chinese government respects the personal freedoms of its people," the survey found.

James T. Areddy
The Wall Street Journal. - ‎Thursday‎, ‎July 18, 2013, 7:46 a.m. ET

Write to James T. Areddy at james.areddy@wsj.com


News Sources

  • ABC
  • Access Hollywood
  • Associated Press
  • BBC
  • Bloomberg
  • Boston Globe
  • C-SPAN
  • CBS
  • Chicago Sun-Times
  • Christian Science Monitor
  • Center for Public Integrity
  • CNN
  • Congressional Quarterly
  • Democracy Now!
  • Digg
  • E! Online
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • Financial Times
  • Forbes
  • Foreign Policy
  • Fortune
  • Front Street Magazine

  • U.S. News, World News
  • Business, Politics
  • Entertainment, Sports
  • Art, Lifestyle
  • Videos And More
  • News Sources

  • Fox News
  • Google News
  • Guardian
  • Huffington Post
  • Independent
  • LA Weekly
  • Los Angeles Times
  • McClatchy
  • Mother Jones
  • National Journal
  • NBC New
  • New York Post
  • New York Times
  • Newsweek
  • Newsy
  • NPR
  • PBS NewsHour
  • People
  • Politico
  • Reuters
  • TPM
  • Washington Post
  • Thanks For Your Support!


    Copyright © 2018 Front Street. All Rights Reserved.