Negative views of China skyrocket amid pandemic, wolf warrior diplomacy

Negative opinion of China in Australia reaches historic high of 81%

Exile Tibetan representing Xi Jinping marches with others during street protest in Dharmsala, India, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020.

Exile Tibetan representing Xi Jinping marches with others during street protest in Dharmsala, India, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) ravages the world and China imposes its "wolf warrior diplomacy" on vulnerable nations, a new Pew poll shows that citizens in the countries polled have an increasingly negative view of the communist regime, with nine countries reporting all-time highs.

On Tuesday (Oct. 6) the Pew Research Center released a poll on the evaluation of China by citizens in over a dozen countries showing that respondents in all nations surveyed showed a massive increase in negative opinions towards the autocracy. The largest spike in negative sentiment occurred in Australia, where 81 percent now view China unfavorably, while the U.S. has seen a 20 percentage point spike in negative opinions about the country since President Donald Trump took office.

The survey included responses from 14,276 people in 14 countries around the world and was conducted from June 10 to Aug. 3. The poll found that more than half of the people in each country surveyed hold a negative view of China, and the proportion in some countries has surpassed 75 percent.

Out of the 14 countries surveyed, people in Japan had the highest percentage of respondents reporting a negative perception of China at 86 percent. Next was Sweden at 85 percent; followed by Australia (81 percent); Denmark (75 percent); South Korea (75 percent); the United Kingdom (74 percent); the United States (73 percent); Canada (73 percent); the Netherlands (73 percent); Germany (71 percent); Belgium (71 percent); France (70 percent); Spain (63 percent); and Italy (62 percent).

The poll also showed that the proportion of people in nine countries holding negative perceptions of China, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States, has set a new high since the Pew Research Center began running the survey more than 10 years ago. Among these countries, the most significant change was in the U.K., with a 60 percentage point increase in negative sentiment since 2006.

As the coronavirus continues to rage across the globe, with the odd exception of China, where local infections have been allegedly brought down to "zero," the perception by outsiders of the world's most populous country has rapidly deteriorated. The poll found that in the past year alone, the proportion of Australians reporting unfavorable opinions towards China surged by 24 percentage points, the U.K. grew by 19 percentage points, and Sweden, the Netherlands, and Germany all climbed 15 percentage points.

When asked about China’s handling of the pandemic, a 61-percent median of countries surveyed believed "China has done a bad job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak." In the Asia-Pacific region, more than 70 percent of people in Japan, South Korea, and Australia are dissatisfied with Beijing's performance, with 40 percent saying China did a "very bad job."

This poll also found that dissatisfaction with China's handling of the pandemic has further affected the confidence of those surveyed in Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping (習近平). Of the 14 countries polled, a median of 78 percent of respondents said that they "have no confidence in Chinese President Xi to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs."

The term "wolf warrior" refers to a Chinese propaganda film that depicts People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers fighting foreign mercenaries who are led by a character named Tom Cat. The term has been adopted in China's diplomatic sphere to describe a new tactic of aggressively lashing out at critics online.

The results of the poll clearly show that China embracing its "wolf warrior diplomacy" to counter international condemnation of its poor management of the pandemic has failed in spectacular fashion.

Updated : 2020-12-04 04:48 GMT+08:00