Asian countries don’t like each other much but they like America
If this survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project (conducted in China, India, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States from March 31-May 14, 2006) has any value at all, then we Asians sure have some negative attitudes towards our neighbors!
As many as 7987 people were sampled in these countries (details at the end of the post) and these are the main findings…but before I begin I want to clarify that no, I don’t see these findings as edicts carved in stone. Every study has its limitations and frankly I find studies better than simply talking to people one knows. At the same time, I don’t believe the conspiracy theories that some people surround such studies with. Inefficiencies and faulty methodology can happen, yes..but for the sake of discussion let us assume that this study is at least a pointer to something.
So here goes:
Who likes Whom?
1. The majority of Japanese (71 percent) dislike China and an equal number of Chinese (70 percent) dislike Japan.
2. The majority of Indians (67 percent) are unfavorably disposed towards Pakistan and these feelings are heartily reciprocated by 50 percent of the Pakistanis (towards India), although quite a few said ‘don’t know.’
3. Although neither the majority of the Japanese (49 percent, but quite a few don’t know) nor the majority of the Chinese (42 percent, but many don’t know) like Pakistan, an overwhelming number of Pakistanis (69 percent) like China and almost half (43 percent, but many don’t know) like Japan.
4. A majority of the Japanese (65 percent) like India but a large majority of the Chinese (43 percent, but many didn’t know) don’t like India.
5. Interestingly, Japanese people think unfavorably of North Korea, but the Chinese don’t! So the Japanese are different from the Chinese in their view of North Korea and India. But both the Japanese and the Chinese see South Korea in a positive light.
However, the study also shows that despite the negative views the Chinese and Japanese hold about one another, the majority of people in both countries do not see each other as adversaries. However, a significant section of the population does – 31 percent of the Japanese see China as an adversary and 33 percent of the Chinese see Japan as an adversary.
What do Asians think of the United States?
Well, the Indians (56 percent, but 16 percent don’t know ), the Japanese (63 percent, but 2 percent don’t know) and to some extent the Chinese (47 percent, but 10 percent don’t know) like America. Predictably Pakistanis (56 percent, but 17 percent couldn’t say) don’t like the US much.
The chart is given below:
China’s military power has the others worried
Almost all the Japanese are worried about China’s growing military strength and the majority of the Russians and Indians as well.
Naturally, 95 percent of the Chinese are pretty cool about their “rising military might.”
The Chinese are more skeptical about their economic growth than the others
The Chinese may think well of their military might, and their economic growth, but only 37 percent of the Chinese actually believe that their country will replace the United States as the next world power…no, not even in the next 50 years!
That’s not what the others think. The majority (65 percent) of Indians believe that China will replace the US as the dominant superpower and so do 43 percent of the Americans themselves. The majority of the Japanese (59 percent) believe that China will never overtake the US.
This I think tells us a lot about how the media in each country portrays China.
And although Chinese newspapers are full of positive stories about their own economy, obviously the Chinese people are not inclined to believe that they are on their way to beating America!
As to positive or negative attitudes towards China’s growing economic prowess, the chart to the right explains it.
A little about the looming Nuclear Deal between India and the United States
75 percent of the Indians polled who had heard of the nuclear deal (62% had) felt positively about it, but only 27 percent of Pakistanis who had heard of India’s nuclear deal (about 25 percent had) reacted positively to it. 73 percent of Pakistanis are opposed to the deal.
Overall, I found this study very interesting, and I hope readers do too.
Note (From Pew Global): Survey is based on national samples, except in China, India, and Pakistan, where the sample was disproportionately or exclusively urban.
China – Sample size: 2180
India – Sample size: 2029
Japan – Sample size: 500
Pakistan – Sample size: 1277
Russia – Sample size: 1000
United States – Sample size: 1001