Canada among most negative . . .
The Pew Research Center’s latest Global Attitudes Survey conducted across 32 countries between May and August 2019 shows that countries are divided in their views of China. On the negative side, Japan leads with 85% of those surveyed holding negative views of China. Japan is followed by Sweden (70%), Canada (67%), South Korea (63%), France (62%), and the U.S. (60%). Notably, in Canada the proportion of respondents espousing negative views of China rose from 45% in 2018 to 67% in 2019. However, in countries with more co-operative relations with China respondents tend to have more positive views. In particular, 71% of Russians have positive opinions of China, followed by Nigeria (70%), Israel (66%), and Ukraine (57%).
Young people have more favourable views of China . . .
In 20 of the 32 countries surveyed, young people aged 18 to 29 tend to have more positive views of China than those who are 50 or older. For example, in Brazil 67% of young people hold favourable views of China, compared to 40% of older Brazilians. The results of the Global Attitudes Survey echo the findings of APF Canada’s 2017 National Opinion Poll (NOP), which found that Canadian millennials aged 18 to 25 tend to have more positive views of China – shaped in large part by their more recent encounters with a vibrant and economically-dynamic China. According to the NOP, millennials’ perceptions of China contrast with those of Canadians aged 35 or older, whose ideas of China have largely been shaped by the 1989 Tiananmen Square events and China’s dismal human rights record.
Public opinion, federal elections, and Canada-China relations . . .
Navigating relations with China amid a dismal public view of China will be a challenge for the next Government of Canada. The next elected government should be attentive to some of the nuances in public opinion surveys that show divergent views among younger and older generations. And as APF Canada’s 2018 NOP found, most Canadians believe that China’s rise is more of an economic opportunity for Canada than a threat.
- Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada: 2017 National Opinion Poll: Canadian Millennial Views on Asia
- Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada: 2018 National Opinion Poll: Canadian Views on Asia
- Pew Research: People around the globe are divided in their opinions of China