Global perception of China plunges in democracies worldwide, survey shows

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The reputation of China and its President Xi Jinping plummeted in democracies across the globe this year — specifically because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey.

After interviewing over 14,000 adults in 14 countries with advanced economies — including the US, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, Japan and South Korea — the Pew Research Center found that unfavorable views of the Communist nation and its leader had reached historic highs.

Pew attributed the change to China’s handling of the pandemic, which was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan, reporting that 61 percent of all nations surveyed said that the Communist country had done a bad job in responding to the outbreak.

The majority of people from every country surveyed by the preeminent think tank said that they held a negative view of China.

The survey also found that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s personal and professional reputations had been damaged severely in the wake of COVID-19.

Seven-in-ten people from all countries surveyed said they had “not too much or no” confidence in the Chinese Communist Party’s general secretary to do “the right thing regarding world affairs,” a record high for the world leader in every one of the countries aside from Japan and Spain.

Most countries saw the percent of people saying they had “not too much or no” confidence in Xi spike by double digits since 2019.

In the US, negative views of China have gone up 20 percent since President Trump took office in January 2017. In the last year alone, it has risen 13 percentage points.

TOPSHOT-CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS

A hospital in Wuhan, China amid the coronavirus pandemic.

AFP via Getty Images

TOPSHOT-CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS

TOPSHOT-CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS

A hospital in Wuhan, China amid the coronavirus pandemic.

AFP via Getty Images

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The survey was released the same day that a group of 39 countries — led by Germany — denounced China’s treatment of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in concentration camps in Xinjiang and dismantling of Hong Kong’s autonomy.

The pronouncement was made Tuesday by Christoph Heusgen, Germany’s ambassador to the UN, in a statement on behalf of the group of nations to the human rights committee, in which he called on Beijing to allow “unfettered access to Xinjiang” immediately.”

“We call on China to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and her office, and relevant special procedure mandate holders,” Heusgen said.

“We also call on China to uphold autonomy, rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, and to respect the independence of the Hong Kong judiciary,” he continued.

It is unclear if the call to action will lead to any progress on either front.

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