India among countries seeing fastest rise in anti-China sentiments

India, the West sees sharp increase in anti-China feelings, but China continues to enjoy some popular support among people in low- and middle-income countries
Negative perception of China has grown across the world since the pandemic (Photo | Pew Research Center)
Negative perception of China has grown across the world since the pandemic (Photo | Pew Research Center)

India is among the three countries that have seen the sharpest rise in anti-China sentiments since the global pandemic began, according to a new survey conducted by US-based Pew Research Center, considered one of the more credible pollsters globally.

Two others -- Brazil and Poland -- also saw comparable, or higher, increases in negative perception about China during this period.

Poland, which lies next to Ukraine, saw an increase of 33 percentage points in those who held an unfavorable opinion of China since 2019, while both India and Brazil have seen a 21 percentage point increase.

However, despite the increase, the level of negativity among the ordinary public is still considerably less in Brazil (48%), compared to India and Poland, where 67% of the population are ‘unfavorably’ disposed towards China.

The poll was conducted in 24 countries for the first time since the pandemic, including most of the western countries, the three largest Latin American countries, India, Indonesia and the three major countries of Africa — Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Out of the 24 countries, there were only six countries where more people supported China than criticized it.

These included all the three countries in Africa, Indonesia and two of the three countries in Latin America.

The countries where people were most likely to support China were Nigeria (80%) and Kenya (72%). In South Africa, 49% support China while 40% don’t have a positive opinion of the rising power.

Outside Latin America and Africa, Indonesia was the only country where more people supported China (49%) than opposed it (25%).

However, this level of support is unlikely in Indonesia's neighbours such as the Philippines, which have running territorial disputes with China.

In South Korea — the only other SE Asian country where the survey was conducted — 77% of the respondents had an unfavorable opinion of China compared to only 22% who viewed it with a favorable eye.

The poorest opinions of China and its actions on the global stage were, expectedly, seen in western countries, such as the US (83%), Canada (79%), Sweden (85%), Germany (76%), France (72%) and the UK (69%).

Disapproval of China and its actions were slightly less among people in less developed countries, with one exception. “India stands out as the only middle-income country in which a majority has unfavorable views of China,” pointed out Pew Research Center in its report.

“Military conflicts along a contested border may have contributed to the 21 percentage point increase in unfavorable opinion,” it noted, referring to the Ladakh and Sikkim border conflicts.

The survey was conducted over a three month period starting from Feb 20, and involved 27,285 people in 24 countries.


Despite having a poor opinion of China’s actions in the world, most people accepted the country’s advancements in the technology and military field.

“Outside of South Korea, nearly half or more in every country say Chinese technological advancements are the best in the world or above average relative to other wealthy nations. And in many of the middle-income countries, around four-in-ten call Chinese technology the best in the world,” the report noted.

Meanwhile, China’s strategy of making investments into developing countries in Africa and Latin America seems to be paying off in terms of generating some goodwill for the country.

In the survey, around half or more of the respondents in six middle-income countries said their country has benefited a great deal or a fair amount from Chinese investment. In Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, around seven-in-ten or more shared this opinion.

As far as China’s military is concerned, a considerable segment of the population in every country – and often the majority – term it one of the “best in the world” or “above average”.

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The New Indian Express