Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Most People in 35 Countries Say China Has a Large Impact on Their National Economy

1. Views of China and Xi Jinping

Across the 35 countries we surveyed, more have unfavorable views of China than favorable ones. The same is true when it comes to Chinese President Xi Jinping: People mostly lack confidence in him to do the right thing regarding world affairs.

But opinions vary widely across regions and across levels of economic development. For example, in the high-income European countries included in the survey, views of China and Xi tend to be broadly negative, while in middle-income nations in sub-Saharan Africa, views are significantly more positive.

Views tend to be among the most and least positive in the Asia-Pacific region – more positive in middle-income countries like Malaysia and Thailand, and more negative in high-income ones like Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Overall favorability of China

A bar chart showing that Attitudes toward China vary widely across regions

A 35-country median of 35% have a favorable view of China, compared with a median of 52% who have a negative view. Opinions vary widely, from 11% favorable in Sweden to 80% favorable in Thailand.

In the 18 high-income countries we polled, views of China are, on balance, negative. There are three notable exceptions where opinion of China is either divided or net positive: Chile, Greece and Singapore. Among Singaporeans, those who are ethnically Chinese are particularly favorable (71%). A majority of Singaporeans who are not ethnically Chinese also see China favorably (59%).

In the 17 middle-income countries we polled, views of China are much rosier. Though three countries stand out for having more negative than positive views: India, the Philippines and Turkey.

Views of China over time

A dot plot showing that Views of China are shifting in many countries

Views of China have turned slightly more positive since last year in Argentina, Canada and Greece (+7 percentage points each).

Over the same period, favorable views have decreased significantly in Israel (-15) and Hungary (-7).

The sharp decrease in favorability among Israelis follows a number of Chinese policy positions related to the Israel-Hamas war. China was an early proponent of a cease-fire in Gaza, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi accused Israel of going “beyond the scope of self-defense” in the first days of the war. (The survey predated Xi’s calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in his May meetings with Arab leaders.)

Jewish Israelis (25%) have much less favorable views of China than Arab Israelis do (61%). Among Jewish Israelis, this reflects an 18-point decrease in favorability since last year; among Arab Israelis, the decrease was 7 points.

In Hungary, the survey followed China’s offer for a security pact between the two countries but occurred before Xi’s May visit to Budapest.

We also see significant shifts in opinion in some of the countries not surveyed since before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • In the Philippines and Turkey, favorable views have fallen 6 and 11 percentage points, respectively, since 2019.
  • In Chile, they’ve fallen 8 points since 2017.
  • In Colombia, they’ve increased 12 points since 2017.

In Ghana, the share who are unsure or decline to answer the question has dropped significantly since 2017, and in turn, both positive (+11) and negative (+7) views of China have increased. The same has also happened in Tunisia since 2019: Positive views have increased 5 points (from 63% to 68%) and negative views have increased 9 points (from 16% to 25%) while the share who decline to answer decreased significantly.

Views by age

A dot plot showing that In most countries, younger people have more positive views of China

Younger people tend to have more favorable opinions of China than older people do. This has long been the case in the United States, and is also true in over half of the other countries surveyed.

Gaps are particularly large in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru and the United Kingdom, where those ages 18 to 34 are around 25 points more likely than those 50 and older to view China positively.

Only in Hungary and South Korea is the pattern reversed, with younger people feeling less favorably toward China.

Views by ideology

In most countries, views of China are not an ideological issue. But, in the U.S. and Israel, those who place themselves on the left of the ideological spectrum (“liberals” in the U.S.) have more favorable views than those on the right (“conservatives” in the U.S.).

In Bangladesh, Hungary, the Netherlands and Spain, those on the right tend to have more positive views on China than those on the left.

Confidence in Xi

A bar chart showing that there are Mixed views of Xi across 35 countries

Few internationally have confidence in Chinese President Xi Jinping. A 35-country median of 24% express at least a fair amount confidence in the leader, while 62% have little to no confidence. However, opinion varies widely across high- and middle-income countries (49% and 12% confidence at the median, respectively), as well as across regions.

Views are least positive in North America and Europe: Clear majorities in each country surveyed there have little or no confidence in Xi.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Xi gets some of his highest and lowest ratings. Positive ratings tend to be more common in middle-income countries than high-income countries. For example, roughly half or more in Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Thailand have at least a fair amount of confidence in Xi. Conversely, in Australia, Japan and South Korea, at least eight-in-ten lack confidence in him. Middle-income India, where more lack confidence in Xi, and high-income Singapore, where most have confidence in Xi, are two notable exceptions to this pattern.

Views of Xi are more positive than negative in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in Kenya (64% vs. 33%) and Nigeria (59% vs. 30%). Notably, large shares in South Africa (33%) and Ghana (21%) refuse to answer or are unsure.

In the Middle East-North Africa region, views of Xi lean positive in Tunisia, but much smaller shares have confidence in him in Israel and Turkey. In Latin America, only around three-in-ten or fewer have confidence in Xi in every country surveyed.

Views of Xi over time

Among countries last surveyed in 2023, opinions of the Chinese leader have become slightly less positive in South Africa (-9) and Israel (-6) and slightly more positive in Argentina (+6) and Hungary (+7).

Confidence has also fallen slightly in two countries last surveyed in 2022: Malaysia (-7) and Singapore (-6).

And, in the Philippines, last surveyed in 2019, confidence has fallen 13 points, from 58% to 45%.

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