Sunday

27th Nov 2022

Europeans more critical of China on rights

  • Shanghai: Europeans see China as the world's top economic power (Photo: Bernd Thaller)

Europeans, compared to other parts of the world, hold more critical views of China’s human rights record, according to a survey published by US think tank Pew on Tuesday (23 June).

Pew interviewed people from 40 countries, including the EU's six most populous countries: Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Poland.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

In France, 93 percent of respondents said the Chinese government does not respect the personal freedoms of its people; 92 percent of Germans, and 88 percent of Spanish were of the same view.

Respondents from Canada and the US responded in a similar fashion, but most regions in the world, especially Africa were much more positive. Only 28 percent of Russians answered No, and 52 percent answered Yes.

When asked about their general opinion of China, the six surveyed European countries, which account for 70 percent of the EU's population, were also less favourable towards the Asian country.

Thirty four percent of Germans held a favourable view of China, while 60 percent held an unfavourable one. The most favourable views within the European countries were held in France, where they were almost tied with negative views.

In some European countries gender and age revealed differences when it comes to how China is viewed.

Among Spaniards, 37 percent of those above age 50 have a favourable view of China, this rose to 56 percent among 18 to 29 year olds.

Forty-two percent of German men view China positively, compared to 25 percent of German women.

Political power

Of the five regions the researchers compared – the EU, Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and Asia/Pacific – it was the EU where most people believed that China would take over the US as a superpower.

Almost half of French, German, Spanish, and British respondents believed that China “will eventually replace the US as the world's leading superpower”.

Only 31 percent of Italians agreed, but that is because 26 percent were of the opinion that China has already replaced the US as leading superpower.

Around a third of Europeans believed China will never replace the US as superpower.

In the US itself, 10 percent believed China has replaced the US, and 36 percent that it will do so eventually.

Economic power

On the economy, there is substantial support in Europe for the idea that China is currently the world's number one economic power.

However, that notion was more popular a few years ago.

“Between 2009 and 2012, Europeans increasingly saw China, rather than the US, as the world’s economic leader. However, the pendulum has swung back in the other direction since 2012, and today Europeans are now essentially divided on this question”, the report said.

In France, 49 percent named China as the leading economic power, 40 percent named the US.

In Germany, 39 percent believed China to be the world's economic powerhouse; 27 percent said that honour belongs to the US, while 25 percent of Germans named EU has the main economic power in the world.

Of the forty surveyed countries, only five had 10 percent or more respondents believing that the EU is the world’s number one economy: Germany (25%), Ukraine (12%), Palestinian territories (11%), Vietnam (11%), and China (10%).

Interview

'China is not like what you read in the media'

Europe and China need each other as business partners, but they also need to improve their understanding of each other, a Chinese business leader has told this website.

EU and China leaders to talk trade and climate

EU and Chinese leaders will meet in Brussels on Monday, with the EU hoping for Chinese investment in its new growth fund as well as support for a global climate deal.

Socialists opposed parliament taking Qatar rights stand

The socialists in the European Parliament are leading compromise talks on human rights in Qatar despite voting against putting the issue to a plenary vote. The move comes after the Left demanded that the European Parliament take a stand.

No top EU officials going to Qatar World Cup

None of the four top EU officials are going to the Qatar World Cup amid a stink on human rights, but some are more brave than others in criticising the gas-rich emirate.

Moldova hit by spillover of Russia's war

Last week, the EU pledged €250m to help Moldova tackle the energy crisis consisting of €100m in loans, another €100m in grants, and €50m directed to help the most vulnerable citizens.

Socialists opposed parliament taking Qatar rights stand

The socialists in the European Parliament are leading compromise talks on human rights in Qatar despite voting against putting the issue to a plenary vote. The move comes after the Left demanded that the European Parliament take a stand.

News in Brief

  1. 'Pro-Kremlin group' in EU Parliament cyberattack
  2. Ukraine will decide on any peace talks, Borrell says
  3. Germany blocks sale of chip factory to Chinese subsidiary
  4. Strikes and protests over cost-of-living grip Greece, Belgium
  5. Liberal MEPs want Musk quizzed in parliament
  6. Bulgarian policeman shot dead at Turkish border
  7. 89 people allowed to disembark in Italy, aid group says
  8. UN chief tells world: Cooperate on climate or perish

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. Sweden says 'no' to EU asylum relocation pledges
  2. The 'proof' problem with EU sanctions — and how to fix it
  3. The EU gas cap: will the bottle ever be 'uncorked'?
  4. Enough talk, only rights can eliminate patriarchal violence
  5. Swedish EU presidency: 'Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine'
  6. EU Commission to keep Hungary's EU funds in limbo
  7. 'No substance' price ceiling for gas leaves everyone disgruntled
  8. Paying consumers who save most energy could tame gas prices

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us