Tuesday, September 19, 2006

China's influence seen more positive than the US or Russia

China's influence seen more positive than the US or Russia
Bevin Chu
September 18, 2006

Comment: Mainland China's "live and let live" international policy has resulted in China being perceived more positively than the "Benevolent Global Hegemon," better known as the United States. The Bush II regime's arrogant, anything but humble "You're either with us or you're with the terrorists" international policy, diametrically opposed to the anti-interventionist philosopy of America's Founding Fathers, has incurred the wrath of almost every nation on the planet. The BBC World Service Poll has put the lie to the Neocon Chickenhawks' baseless and unfounded "China Threat Theory."

BBC World Service Poll - [mainland] Chinese Influence

China's influence seen more positive than the US or Russia.

China's influence on the world is seen as positive by more people than is the case for the US or Russia, according to a new BBC World Service poll.

In total, 48% of people polled in 22 countries said China's role was mainly positive. Only 30% saw it as mainly negative.

The majority of respondents were also positive about the [nominally] communist [but in fact capitalist] nation's growing economic power.

Even in neighbouring Asian countries, which have historically been suspicious of China's dominance, opinions were relatively benign.

An exception was Japan, where only 22% of people polled said China had a mainly positive influence.

[This hardly comes as a surprise to long time Asia watchers. Rabid Sinophobia has been rampant ever since the Meiji Restoration and the rise of race-based Japanese fascism.]

Most Japanese respondents expressed no opinion, with only 25% saying China's role was negative.

The survey of 22,953 people was conducted for the BBC World Service by the polling organisation GlobeScan, together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (Pipa) at the University of Maryland.

Steven Kull, director of Pipa, said: "It is quite remarkable that with its growing economic power, China is viewed as so benign, especially by its Asian neighbours."

"However, this cordial view... does appear to depend on China restraining itself from seeking to convert its burgeoning economic power into a threatening military presence."

Economic growth

In 17 of the 22 nations polled, more people thought China had a positive influence than a negative influence.

China came out favourably when the results were compared with similar questions looking at the global influence of Russia and the US.

An average of 38% of respondents saw the US as having a positive influence, with just 36% saying the same for Russia.

Indeed China, at 48%, is almost on a par with Great Britain, which scored 50%.

China's growing economic power is also seen as positive in the majority of nations polled.

Even in Mexico - whose manufacturers are often in direct competition with those in China - 54% of people polled were positive about China's economic rise.

But China's growing military might appears to be a less welcome aspect of its increasing global standing.

Only 24% of respondents said a rise in China's military power was a positive development, while 59% said it was negative.

Among the most concerned nations were Australia, Japan and the US, as well as many European nations.

[In fact, mainland China's military purchases have been undertaken highly reluctantly, as they are a net drain on China's continued economic development. Mainland China's military expenditures have been a purely defensive measure against cynical and jealous joint US/Japanese efforts to Balkanize China and prevent her from joining the ranks of prosperous First World nations.]

The EU is currently considering lifting its embargo on arms sales to China.

A BBC correspondent in Beijing, Tony Cheng, says China has rarely felt the need to look beyond its borders for reassurance in the past.

But China is opening up. Widespread use of the internet and expansion of the mass media have brought the rest of the world into ordinary people's homes for the first time.

According to our correspondent, there is therefore an increasing concern about how the country is perceived, with Chinese citizens aware that progress will only come if they engage with the rest of the global community.

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