World Perception Series Part I: China

Editing support provided by:  Millicent Jefferson

The following is an aggregation of key articles and commentary evaluating both how the world views China and how China views the rest of the world.  These articles suggest that China’s economic “charm offensive” has been highly successful, as well as its cultural outreach, particularly in the developing world.  However, these sources also underscore the fact that China’s reputation for human rights violations and its growing military presence in the Pacific Rim present two major obstacles to improved foreign public opinion. 

China, Germany Set up Regular Parliamentary Exchange Mechanism
(Xinhuanet, Beijing, April 27, 2005)
Top Chinese and German legislators signed here Wednesday a joint statement on formally setting up an exchange mechanism between parliaments of the two countries. The statement was signed after one hour of talks between Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) and Wolfgang Thierse, president of Germany’s Federal Assembly.

US Welcomes KMT Chief’s Mainland Visit amid Positive Media Reaction
(Xinhua, Beijing, China, April 27, 2005)
The United States has welcomed the Mainland visit by Lien Chan, chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) of China, amid positive global media reaction. “We believe that steps that increase dialogue, support dialogue, support a peaceful resolution of cross-Straits tension are to be supported, are to be welcomed. And that’s the case with the latest visit (of Lien),” State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli told a press conference on Tuesday.

Lien’s China Trip Highlights Tensions
(Francis Markus, BBC News, April 27, 2005)
A crowd of hundreds of Chinese tourists are trying to get a glimpse of Taiwan’s opposition leader Lien Chan and his delegation. The Taiwanese were paying homage at the mausoleum to Sun Yat-sen, founding father of their Kuomintang Party and a man who was also revered by China’s Communist Party as one of the creators of modern China.

China Welcomes Taiwan Opposition Leader
(Christopher Bodeen, The Associated Press, April 26, 2005)
A historic trip to China by the head of Taiwan’s opposition party began Tuesday with a flurry of eggs and punches from angry supporters of the island’s president at Taipei airport. Hours later, he was welcomed with flowers and speeches by Chinese communist officials who hailed his arrival as a sign of reconciliation.

Short-Lived Strike Reflects Strength of Japan-China Ties
(Edward Cody, Washington Post Foreign Service, April 26, 2005)
On the face of it, the 10,000 fired-up workers at Uniden Electronic Products seemed to have a lot going for them when they went on strike. By eight days after the strike began, employees were forced back to the assembly line. The short-lived walkout at Uniden put on display the powerful economic forces at work in relations between Japan and China despite a tense diplomatic feud over Japan’s World War II legacy and a strategic clash in the East China Sea north of Taiwan. Chinese and Japanese officials estimate that their countries did $170 billion in trade last year.

Protests Fueled by a Single Problem: History
(Zhao Jun, Asahi Shimbun, Japan, Apr 26, 2005)
While analysts cite various reasons for the series of anti-Japan demonstrations in China, the author believes the situation stems entirely from the problem of Japan’s historical recognition.

Summit Hopes for China and Japan
(BBC News, April 21, 2005)
The leaders of Japan and China have arrived in Indonesia for an Asia -Africa summit, amid hopes they can use the meeting to calm a growing dispute.

Public Anger May Singe Beijing
(Joyce Barnathan, BusinessWeek Online, April 20, 2005)
Anti-Japan protests in China, aided by the Net and cell phones, could get out of control and create trouble for the country’s leaders.

Rising Dragon and the American Eagle - Part II
(Robert Sutter, YaleGlobal, April 22, 2005)
China is on the rise – but US influence in Asia shows no signs of waning. A careful assessment shows limits of China’s influence and resiliency of US leadership.

Rising Dragon and the American Eagle - Part I
(David Shambaugh, YaleGlobal, April 20, 2005)
China’s growing economic power and diplomatic clout may portend a turning of the tide against the US in Asia. Polls reflect rather dramatic shifts in public opinion throughout many Asian societies - in favor of China and against America.

Japan-China Fight over History Rooted in the Future
(Jefferson Morley, Washington Post, April 19, 2005)
It’s not just about history textbooks. Anti-Japanese riots in China are not only due to enduring memories of Japanese imperial rule in the early 20th century, say online commentators, but also stem from concerns about the future ambitions of both countries’ governments.

Anti-Japanese Protests Rattle Investors: Growth of Chinese Consumer Classes Leaves Foreign Firms Vulnerable in Face of Boycott Tactics
(Geoffrey York, The Globe and Mail, April 5, 2005)
York reported that after a weekend of violent attacks and consumer boycott activity, Japanese investors in China are increasingly jittery about their future in a country that is crucial to Japan’s economic recovery. The anti-Japanese protests and boycott movement have exposed the risks of investing in China.

China Leads World in Executions: Amnesty International
(Associated Press, April 5, 2005)
Associated Press reported that according to Amnesty International “China accounted for the majority of executions reported worldwide last year, but the true frequency of the death penalty is impossible to count because many death sentences are carried out secretly.”

Made in China
(Prabhat Mukherjee, The Korea Times, April 3, 2005)
Mukherjee reported that he read that large numbers of Koreans are attending foreign language institutes to learn Chinese.  He feels that Korea’s increase in business with China is slowly diverting attention in Korean corporate circles from the United States and Europe to China.

Beijing Gives Unrehearsed Boost to Chen - Opinion
(Ralph Cossa, Japan Times, April 3, 2005)
Cossa feels China’s new anti-secession law benefits everyone except Beijing.  Cossa said the law, which has been described by Washington as “unhelpful,” allows the use of “non-peaceful means” if the opportunity for peaceful reunification with Taiwan becomes “completely exhausted.”

In Love with China: Australians Are Now Backing Howard’s Way with China - Opinion
(Michelle Grattan, The Age, March 30, 2005)
Gratten said that “when it comes to getting closer to China, John Howard and Australian public opinion are clearly marching in sync, a unity dramatically demonstrated by new data on public attitudes to Asia’s emerging superpower.”

International Trade in Culture Goods
(The Daily, March 29, 2005)
According to the Canadian Statistics Agency Canada’s trade deficit in culture goods widened for the fourth consecutive year in 2003, thanks in part to a surge in imported goods from China. China became the second biggest exporter of culture goods to Canada in 2003, displacing the United Kingdom and France.

China Flexes Economic Muscle Throughout Burgeoning Africa
(Karby Leggett, The Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2005)
Leggett reports that today, China is very influential in Ethiopia as part of Beijing’s push into Africa. Chinese companies have become a dominant force, building highways and bridges, power stations, mobile-phone networks, schools and pharmaceutical plants. China is forging deep economic, political and military ties with most of Africa’s 54 countries in an effort to help propel China’s rise as a global superpower.
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In Europe, Public Turns towards U.S. On China
(Judy Dempsey, International Herald Tribune, March 25, 2005)
Dempsey explains that France and Germany have done “most of the running to end the arms embargo against China since late 2003.”  Other countries in Europe side with the U.S. in keeping the embargo, but feel they are not powerful enough to stop it from being lifted. “Britain is trying to tighten the rules for exporting weapons to China if the embargo is lifted.”

Beijing’s More Active Role: Time Running Short to Preserve of Six-Party Dialogue - Opinion
(The Korea Times, March 24, 2005)
The article suggests that with “the United States rapidly losing patience over the stalemate on nuclear negotiations, China’s importance is growing more than ever before, because it is the only party that can bring North Korea back into the six-party dialogue.”

In Life on the Mekong, China’s Dams Dominate; China’s Reach: The Trouble Downstream
(Jane Perlez, New York Times, March 19, 2005)
This is the last of three articles examining China’s rising power in the Asia-Pacific region as it extends new economic, diplomatic and cultural ties. China has completed two dams on the Mekong River and it is pushing ahead with three more and has three others on the drawing board. The effects of the river projects are growing more worrying, say conservationists and those who live on the river. Today the countries downstream from China—Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam—have settled into an era of relative peace and have shed their old fears of China, indeed, are currying favor.
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Is China’s New Law A Provocation to Taiwan?
(Talking Points, BBC News, March 18, 2005)
People around the world commented on a new Chinese law which would allow Beijing to use military force against Taiwan if it moves towards declaring independence. Taiwan condemned the law, but Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the law, which was passed by the National People’s Congress aims at improving relations.

China’s Rise in Asia: Bumps in the Road and Unanswered Questions - Commentary
(Professor Robert Sutter, Japanese Institute of Global Communications, March 18, 2005)
Sutter writes that commentators and specialists focusing on the positive changes in China’s approach to Asia in recent years, and predicting Chinese ascendance amid U.S. decline, have been brought up short by China’s insistence on passing a hard-line anti-succession law sure to worsen relations with Taiwan and tension in Asia. He discussed how much influence China actually exerts in Asia, and what China’s rise means for the U.S.

World Opinion Roundup: China Talks Tough
(Jefferson Morley, Washington Post, March 15, 2005)
In his weekly discussion, Morley conducts a tour of the best of Internet news sites around the globe. He stated that as China talks tough on Taiwan, U.S. allies shy away from irritating Asia’s giant. Morley answered questions about China’s geopolitical ambitions in an online discussion.

“The Chinese Miracle Will End Soon”
(Spiegel Online, March 7, 2005)
An interview of Pan Yue, China’s Deputy Minister of the Environment says the country’s pollution problem will soon overwhelm the country and will create millions of “environmental refugees.”  Spiegel said the world has been dazzled in recent years by the economic strides being made by China.

22 Nation Globescan Poll on China
(Program on International Policy Attitudes, March 5, 2005)
A new BBC World Service Poll of 22 countries finds that China is viewed as playing a significantly more positive role in the world than either the US or Russia, a role more on par with Britain. When poll takers were asked about possible future trends, most were positive about China significantly increasing its economic power in the world, but negative about China significantly increasing its military power.
Click here for the BBC press release.

The Lifting of The EU Arms Embargo On China: An American Perspective
(Peter Brookes, The Heritage Foundation, March 2, 2005)
Later this year, the European Union (EU) will consider lifting the Tiananmen Square arms embargo against the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The U.S. and the EU imposed the embargo following the June 1989 crackdown on democracy protestors in Beijing. This paper presents a range of opinions to help confront this nettlesome issue that has crept into the trans-Atlantic relationship.

Analysis: Russia, China clash on war game plans
(Martin Sieff, United Press International, Mar. 22, 2005)
Russian Chief of General Staff Yury Baluyevsky flies home from the Far East this week after finalizing plans for large, ambitious joint-military exercises to be held with China this fall. But the negotiations were far from a bed of roses. China wanted the exercises—the first ever between the two countries—to be held in its southwestern Zhejiang province near the island of Taiwan, the Moscow newspaper Kommersant reported Thursday.

Taiwan’s Public Opinion Regarding China’s Enactment Of An “Anti-Separation Law”
(Public Opinion Poll, National Chengchi University’s Institute of International Relations, Feb. 25-27, 2005)
The National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center conducted this public opinion poll in Taiwan after China’s National People’s Congress approved the “anti-separation law” draft bill in December 2004, allowing Beijing to use military action to halt any moves by Taiwan toward formal independence.

Russia and China Announce Strategic Partnership in A Bid to Counter Expanding Western Military and Fiscal Influences
(Babu Ghanta, India Daily, February 03, 2005)
Tang Jiaxuan, a member of China’s State Council, said Russia and China have similar positions on regional and global issues. Tang said Moscow is Beijing’s key ally in its effort to maintain a strategic partnership. Sources say, Russia and China have formally joined hands to stop expanding American and European military as well as economic global influences.

China’s Rise in Asia – Promises, Prospects and Implications for the United States
(Robert Sutter, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, February 2005)
In this latest installment of his paper series Sutter said, China’s rising importance in Asian affairs represents a major change in regional power dynamics in the early 21st century and a major challenge for analysts of Asian affairs. While many will engage in projections focused on China’s strengths and accomplishments and the new features of Chinese diplomacy in Asia, balanced assessment will require comprehensive treatment of Chinese strengths and weaknesses, clear-eyed views of determinants regarding Chinese ambitions in Asia, and awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of other powers and influences in the region, notably those exerted by the United States. [PDF]

Poll: Americans’ Attitudes Warm toward China
(China Daily, Jan. 16, 2005)
China Daily reports that Americans’ attitudes toward China have grown dramatically more favorable in the past 10 years, according to a new poll conducted by Zogby International. Preliminary results of the survey, commissioned by the Committee of 100, a national organization of prominent people of Chinese descent, also show several contradictions: Americans blame China for taking U.S. jobs, but support doing business with the world’s most populous nation and importing its goods.
Click here for related reports.

Public Opinion Of China Hits Record Low, National Poll Shows
(The Japan Times, Dec. 20, 2004)
Only 37.6 percent of Japanese feel friendship toward China, down 10.3 percentage points from a year earlier, according to a Cabinet Office survey. Analysts say recent unfavorable incidents, such as China’s reaction to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine, and Chinese anti-Japanese at the Asian Cup soccer tournament last summer have affected public opinion of China.

China, Germany to Put More Punch into Cultural Exchange
(Xinhua News Agency, Dec. 8, 2004)
For pedestrians passing by the China National Museum in Beijing on Tuesday morning, the landmark structure already sitting to the east of Tian’anmen Square for 46 years was a place of attraction. To curator Pan Zhenzhou who witnessed a visit by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, the museum re-emerged as a lively sign of escalating cultural collaboration between China and Germany.

China’s Responsibility in a Multipolar World
(Rep. Henry Hyde, The Heritage Foundation, Dec. 3, 2004)
In this commentary Hyde said of the many competing forecasts of the century now unfolding, all agree that the rise of China will be a central determinant of its course. Attention is focused on the dramatic developments within that country, but we are simultaneously witnessing the emergence of a new and powerful actor on the global stage, one whose actions and decisions will reach deeply into every country on the planet.

Chinese Move to Eclipse U.S. Appeal in South Asia; China’s Reach—The Soft Sell
(Jane Perlez, New York Times, Nov. 18, 2004)
This is the second of three articles examining China’s rising power in the Asia-Pacific region as it extends new economic, diplomatic and cultural ties. As the new Chinese tourists from the rapidly expanding middle class travel, they carry with them an image of a vastly different and more inviting China than even just a few years ago, richer, more confident and more influential. ‘‘Among some countries, China fever seems to be replacing China fear,’’ said Wang Gungwu, the director of the East Asian Institute at National University in Singapore.
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China and Globalisation: Mapping Chinese Visions of Their Future in the World
(The Foreign Policy Centre, November 2004)
In May 2004, the Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) commenced a new program of research, publications, forums and public discussions on China. The FPC China program takes Chinese perspectives as its departure point, focusing on three principal areas: how China’s government, interest groups and diverse communities see their values and how they project these values to the world; outside attempts to understand and engage with the paramount values of the Chinese government, leading interest groups and diverse communities; and the role of these diverse, often competing, Chinese actors in globalization and global trends. [PDF]

Russian-Chinese Relations Poll: Is China Friendly or Unfriendly towards Russia?
(Public Opinion Foundation, Oct. 28, 2004)
Nation-wide home interviews were conducted during October 23-24, 2004 in 100 residencies in 44 regions.  According to the poll, more people saw China as friendly.  They said Russia has more international influence, but China is developing more successfully.

Chirac: France-China Cooperation to Serve World
(China Daily, Oct. 11, 2004)
Taking humanism as the major topic of their dialogue, the cooperative relations between France and China will serve the world in the future, said French President Jacques Chirac in Beijing Monday.

Perception Versus Reality: China as a Major Power In Progress
(Takashi Kitazume, The Japan Times, Oct. 8, 2004)
The article reports that a French scholar recently told a symposium in Tokyo that China’s status as a new big power in international relations is built not so much on today’s realities as on the world’s perception of what the country will be in the future.

Across Asia, Beijing’s Star is in Ascendance; China’s Reach: Trading Influence
(Jane Perlez, New York Times, Aug. 28, 2004): This is the first of three articles examining China’s rising power in the Asia-Pacific region as it extends new economic, diplomatic and cultural ties. “Not long ago Australia and China regarded each other with suspicion. But through newfound diplomatic finesse and the seemingly irresistible lure of its long economic expansion, Beijing has skillfully turned around relations with Australia, America’s staunchest ally in the region.”
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The Rise of China: Economics Overrides Anti-Japan Sentiment (Part 3)
(Macabe Keliher, Asia Times, Feb. 12, 2004)
In Part three of “The Rise of China” series Keliher says, “Japan has not been completely forgiven, to be sure, and harsh words about never forgetting history, and inflated death tolls, still circulate. Yet the fiery anti-Japanese sentiment has now taken a back seat to the practical ideals of partnership and Asian integration.”

The Rise of China: Replacing US in Asian Export Market (Part 2)
(Macabe Keliher, Asia Times, Feb. 11, 2004): In Part two of “The Rise of China” series Keliher says, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao views China’s prosperity as not only beneficial to his country, but to the entire Asian region as well. “China gobbles up regional resources to fuel its growth.”

The Rise of China: Dragon Seizes Market Share (Part 1)
(Macabe Keliher, Asia Times, Feb. 10, 2004)
In Part one of “The Rise of China” series Keliher says, “China’s political and economic involvement in the region has grown tremendously over the past few years.” He says that China’s increasing economic clout makes political clout inevitable.

Chinese Views on a Changing World: Public Opinion on Modernization and Globalization
(The National Committee on United States-China Relations, Jan. 13, 2004)
Over the last three decades, China has evolved from an autarky in which public opinion was defined by the state to a global economic powerhouse linked by commerce, cell phones and Internet connections to the outside world. The report presented survey data that highlighted some of the current opinions of Chinese citizens on modernization and globalization in a program cosponsored by the National Committee and the World Policy Institute.

Attitudes toward China
(, 2004)
In the report America’s Global Role, it’s suggested that many Americans do not know what to make of China. Americans appear divided and unsure, and responses often vary depending on question wording. Survey researchers consider a double-digit “don’t know” response a warning sign that an issue may not be well understood and public attitudes may not be stable.

China Breaks Out; The Middle Kingdom, More Confident Of Itself Than It’s Been In Decades, Is Putting On A Masterful Display Of Subtle, Smart Diplomacy; [Atlantic Edition]
(Melinda Liu and William Dobson, Newsweek, Dec. 15, 2003)
In this article Liu and Dobson discuss the “new China.” Not long ago few Chinese leaders would have been comfortable riffing on trade surpluses and T-bonds. “Almost as soon as Wen and his boss, President Hu Jintao, took over China’s top government jobs in March, they launched an international charm offensive.” (Subscription Required)

The Charm from Beijing; [News Analysis]
(Jane Perlez, New York Times, Oct. 9, 2003)
Perlez said that Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s first major outing since taking office “unfurled what has clearly become a basic tenet of Beijing’s foreign policy: friendly, even super friendly, relations with the neighbors.” China is forging close diplomatic and political links with Indonesia, which has deep reserves of oil as well as liquid natural gas. Until a few years ago, China’s Communist government was considered an almost hostile power in Indonesia, and Beijing was upset by what it considered the Indonesian government’s discriminatory policies toward the ethnic Chinese in its population.
(Subscription Required)

China’s Domestic Agenda: Social Pressures and Public Opinion
(Hoover Institution, Spring 2003)
Joseph Fewsmith’s installment in the China Leadership Monitor, analyzed trends in Chinese leadership politics and policy.  The installment was sponsored by the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University and was released a few months after China’s President Hu Jintao took over as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.

Taking the Pulse of the Chinese Public
(Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Apr. 25, 2003)
Victor Yuan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Horizon Research, China’s leading private market research firm, delivered a presentation at a lunch forum hosted by Carnegie’s China program. Yuan divided his presentation into three main categories: first, how ordinary Chinese people assess their current life and future; second, how they perceive international issues; and third, their feelings and perceptions of issues pertaining to daily life.

Click here [PDF] for the slide presentation.

China: The Bitter Roots of Foreign Trade Through the Eyes of Asian Culture
(Competitiveness Review, 2001)
This article explores China’s reluctance towards foreign trade by examining past and present trade patterns along with future trade goals. The themes of culture, history and politics that remain blurred in Chinese culture are explored. Also, the article examines why foreign trade and capitalism cannot reproduce similar, instantaneous results in China to mirror western standards.
(Subscription Required)

(, 1999-2004)
This site aggregates polling results regarding US-Chinese relations. Polls are listed in chronological order. The list includes surveys from Pew, Newsweek and Gallop.

Australia’s China: Changing Perceptions from the 1930s to the 1990s.
This is a book on Austrailia China relations by Lachlan Strahan.
ISBN: 0521480019
Series Volume: 104-237
Publication Date: June 1996

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