Chinese revel in nation's growth, direction, survey finds

Chinese are happy with the way life is going.
Chinese are happy with the way life is going. Natalie Behring / MCT

BEIJING — As they prepare to host the Summer Olympics, Chinese are extraordinarily satisfied with their nation's economic growth and the way things are going for their country, chalking up much higher levels of contentment than earlier in the decade, a survey released Tuesday showed.

Chinese also think that the Aug. 8-24 Summer Games will help improve the way their nation is viewed around the world, the Pew Global Attitudes survey found.

The survey, conducted among 3,212 adults in China in late March and early April, found Chinese to be less satisfied with their personal lives than with the country's direction.

Chinese worry about rising prices, the gap between rich people and poor, corruption among officials and air pollution, the survey found.

Even with those concerns, Chinese have embraced the nation's transition from a socialist to a capitalist society, with seven in 10 people saying that it's made them better off, the Pew survey found.

Nearly six out of 10 Chinese think that their country will replace or already has replaced the United States as the world's dominant superpower.

The upcoming Olympic Games have put Chinese in a buoyant mood.

More than nine out of 10 Chinese think that the games will be a success, and most view their Olympic team as ready to harvest a lot of medals, the survey found.

Three out of four Chinese expect their team to win the most medals in the Summer Olympics. Only 15 percent think that the U.S. team will take the most medals.

At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, China came in third in the medal count with 63, behind the United States (103) and Russia (92).

The survey shows a large discrepancy between how Chinese think the world sees them and how many foreigners view their nation.

Seventy-seven percent of Chinese think that foreigners generally like China, a rise from earlier Pew surveys. In fact, majorities in only seven of 23 countries in the global surveys that Pew conducts have positive opinions of China, and the trend is for favorability ratings to be declining.

Historical animosities continue to weigh heavily on how Chinese see the world. Nearly seven out of 10 Chinese have unfavorable impressions of Japan, and four out of 10 view Japan as an enemy.

The United States doesn't score much better. Thirty-four percent of Chinese see it as an enemy, 41 percent view it as neither partner nor enemy and 15 percent see it as a partner, the survey found.

In other findings, the survey showed that:

  • Nearly eight in 10 Chinese see corrupt officials as a big problem for their country, and 39 percent said they were a very big problem.
  • About three in four Chinese approve of the nation's long-standing "one-child policy," which limits most couples to a single child to keep population growth down.
  • The Pew global surveys are a project of the Pew Research Center, a Washington group that provides information on attitudes and trends that are shaping the world.


    For more information: Pew Global