WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Despite the increasing economic and political power of China, global opinion of the superpower is still below that of the United States.
A Pew Research Center poll of global perceptions finds that 50 percent of those surveyed have a favorable view of The People’s Republic of China. While on the other hand, 63 percent of people surveyed across the globe reported a favorable view of America.
The poll found that globally, people are more likely to consider the U.S. a partner to their country than to see China in this way, although relatively few think of either nation as an enemy. The U.S. is also seen as more willing to consider other countries’ interests.
One large factor in the discrepancy of world opinion is consideration of personal freedoms, where the U.S. image remains strong in comparison to China.
Even in many nations where opposition to American foreign policy is widespread and overall ratings for the U.S. are low, majorities or pluralities believe individual rights are respected in the U.S. Across the nations surveyed, a median of 70 percent say the American government respects the personal freedoms of its people. In contrast, a median of only 36 percent responded this way about China.
More than six-in-ten in Italy, Poland, France and Spain have a favorable opinion of the U.S. European perceptions of China are much less positive – among the eight European Union nations polled, Greece is the only one in which a majority expresses a favorable view of China.
Military power from both the U.S. and China does worry many countries across the world.
China’s growing military strength is viewed with trepidation in neighboring Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines. Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s use of drone strikes faces broad opposition – more than half of respondents in 31 of 39 countries disapprove of U.S. drone attacks against extremist groups.