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China's follies make it unpopular around world

China’s follies make it unpopular around world
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China’s follies make it unpopular around world  

Highlights

A common observation of any foreigner who visits China is this: Any good travel guide will state that China is a land of contrasts.

A common observation of any foreigner who visits China is this: Any good travel guide will state that China is a land of contrasts. The travel guides, if trite, are correct. China is a single nation and a multinational collection of individual nations. It is the oldest civilization on Earth and yet considered a developing nation. It is the second largest economy in the world, with less than 10 percent of its people living below the poverty line (less than $1 per day), but that 10 percent equals 133,861,297 people – more than the population of Japan.

The People's Republic of China is officially a Communist State but has a free market economy that contributed to a gross domestic product of $9.7 trillion in 2010, according to the International Monetary Fund. This confuses many of the China observers. But the dichotomy is not confined to just these aspects. There is a huge gap between its words and deeds. For example, it talks of friendship, but keeps backstabbing people even in trade and commerce.

There are dozens of countries which have lost their land to China in recent times - also in the past - that would vouch for it. It is some kind of a lesson that China teaches its friends for having reposed their trust in it. In addition, it lies. There is no bigger a nation in the modern world which thrives on falsehood. Yet another aspect that is not just irritating but despicable, is its sermonising habit. It is difficult to comprehend what gives the country a right to criticise others for no reason at all. Coupled with these follies, Chinese actions in and around the country, project it in poor light. This is the reason that unfavourable views of China have soared to historic highs in many countries in a new global poll by Pew Research Centre, with the highest in Australia.

Pew has recorded that a majority of those polled in each of the 14 advanced economies had negative views of China. But in nine of them, China's unpopularity was at the highest since it started tracking this subject more than a decade ago - in Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Sweden and South Korea. Even in Pakistan discontent against the Chinese is simmering despite the protective net thrown around it by its rulers and its Army.

It is not a surprise that a median of 73% of those polled in 14 countries (Belgium, Japan, Italy, Denmark and France in addition to the nine named above) had unfavourable views of China. Australians had soured the most, with 81%, going up by 24 points over 2019; the last year has seen a sharp deterioration in ties between the two countries. Negative views of China went up by double digits in the last one year in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the US, South Korea and Spain. China may deny it, but the world believes in the claim that coronavirus has been deliberately mishandled by China. Global Times keeps preaching the world the "dos and donts". It is time China started reading the world.

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