China’s international reputation has plunged sharply amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey of people in more than a dozen advanced democracies.
In a telephone-based poll of upwards of 14,000 people in 14 countries between June and August conducted by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center, 61% of all respondents said Beijing had handled the COVID-19 outbreak poorly, compared to 37% who gave the Asian economic giant a favorable response.
The negative views varied among each nation surveyed, with the highest numbers coming from Japan, Sweden and Australia, where more than 80% of those asked had an unfavorable opinion of China. Eighty-one percent of Australian’s disapproved of Beijing, compared to 57% in 2019, the sharpest increase of negative attitudes toward China among all nations.
Tensions between Australia and Beijing have risen since Canberra called for an independent probe into the origins of the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was first detected last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Beijing has retaliated by imposing heavy tariffs on Australian barley and suspended Australian beef imports.
Meanwhile, about 78% of all respondents had a negative view of Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying they had little or no confidence in Xi to do the right thing regarding global affairs.
The other nations surveyed in the Pew Research poll include Britain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, and the United States.