Results presented in this data essay are drawn from nationally representative surveys conducted over the past 20 years in more than 60 countries. All of the data referenced in this essay is publicly available, as is the methodology from each year.

This essay does focus more upon surveys conducted in advanced economies as the coronavirus outbreak has made face-to-face interviewing – and thus surveys in emerging and developing countries – difficult in recent years. Opinion of China may differ in countries that we have not been able to survey since 2019, and we hope to be able to resume this work in a broader group of countries in upcoming years. Still, data from these emerging and developing countries is presented throughout the data essay, as appropriate.

The quotations integrated throughout the essay are drawn from an open-ended question fielded in both the U.S. and Australia in 2021. The question asked people, “What’s the first thing you think about when you think about China?” Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.