What the Chinese think of us

William JordanUS Elections Editor
Freddie SayersEditor-in-Chief of YouGov
January 22, 2014, 2:57 PM GMT+0

A new poll of attitudes to the UK from YouGov China reveals a high degree of respect amongst Chinese for Britain's place in the world

The explosive rise of the world's developing economies in the past ten years, coupled with the impact of the financial crisis on the West, has led to a degree of insecurity amongst Western democracies such as the United Kingdom. A YouGov poll from 2012 showed that British voters are pessimistic about Britain's future – nearly half said China was 'on the rise' compared to only 6% who said the same for the UK.

But YouGov is now operating in China and for the first time is able to shed light on what China’s online population* thinks of us. The results will give pause to the doommongers. In China, most people see the UK as influential on the world stage, and there is no consensus that Britain’s future is one of decline.

  • 92% think it is important for the UK and China to have a close relationship

  • 84% think the UK has 'some' or 'significant' influence on the world stage, only 14% say 'not very much' or 'none'

  • Britain comes THIRD in the rankings of Chinese views of the most important leaders on the world stage – behind America and Russia but ahead of Germany, Japan, India and South Korea

  • Although most think that the UK's influence has slightly decreased in the past 20 years, more people think the UK's influence will INCREASE again in the next 20 years (40%), than decrease (24%). 25% think it will stay the same.

  • 68% would like to learn English, far outpacing any other world languages.

* Total sample size was 1,944 internet-connected Chinese adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between December 16th-30th, 2013.The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of China’s online population.

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