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Eli Bildner senior contributor

Infographic: Chinese Attitudes Toward Their Nation, And the World

This article was produced in collaboration with ChinaFile, a Tea Leaf Nation partner site.

Are Chinese citizens happy with the direction their country is taking? Do they believe in a market economy? Do they believe that hard work brings success?

Each year, the American think tank Pew Research Center asks questions like these to over 300,000 interviewees across 59 countries as part of its “Global Attitudes Project.” This infographic, compiled by Chinese-language news site CNpolitics, highlights some of the major findings from the 3100-plus interviews the Global Attitudes Project conducted this past year in China. Some of the answers may be surprising, particularly given the fact that China is still ruled by a Communist government. Tea Leaf Nation translates, with thanks to partner site ChinaFile’s David M. Barreda for adapting the graphic.


In China, Pew collected 3,177 samples; the results are shown in part below.

The Chinese respondents see their country’s economic situation as stronger than their personal economic situation

Chinese are the most optimistic about their country’s economic situation, though only 69% of Chinese respondents – a smaller percentage than in Brazil and Germany – felt that their personal economic situations were good. Among the 21 nations surveyed, citizens in 19 felt that their personal economic situations were better than their country’s economic situation.

Chinese are skeptical that hard work brings success

Despite their strong confidence in China’s economy, respondents – living in the midst of high-speed economic development – were skeptical that hard work necessarily translates into success.

Chinese are more likely to believe Putin than Obama

Half of Chinese respondents trust Putin; while Obama and Merkel are not particularly popular.

Reference materials: Pew Research Center: Pew Global Attitudes Project, 2012
Data analysis by Fang Kecheng
Illustrations by Lv Yan
Translation by Eli Bildner
Additional translation by Luo Xiaoyuan
Adapted by David M. Barreda

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Eli Bildner

Since moving to China after graduating from college, Eli Bildner has lived in Yunnan, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. You can read more of his essays and poetry at www.elibildner.com.
  • Pat

    The last graph is indeed pretty stunning. Among Obama, Merkel, Putin and Ban Ki-Moon, the one the Chinese trust most is… Putin!?

    • sada

      Actually, the last graph indicates to me that the Chinese don’t trust any of these people. Scan the columns and you’ll see not a single “world leader” received more than 50% of “yes” votes from Chinese respondents. You can make up your own mind regarding who’s right. Personally, when it comes to politicians, I prefer Chinese skepticism to German naivete.

  • http://www.chinavortex.com pdenlinger

    After the financial meltdown and the collapse of the middle class, 77% of Americans still believe that hard work pays. Incurable optimists, idiots, or both?

    • http://twitter.com/balingzhong Carl G

      relevant, irrelevant, or a troll?

    • http://twitter.com/ohfuckinreally awhellno

      Hard work still pays, but that work is just harder to find.

    • 999goldenunicorn

      Americans are just dumb, that’s all.

  • http://twitter.com/aristeon84 My New Life in Asia

    To be honest I don’t understand the questions. It is not true that China is a free market economy. China is a mixed economy in which economic development is a combination of market forces and state planning and intervention. Just like Singapore or South Korea, which have a market-driven economy with large state intervention. I find it astonishing that such polls put questions that assume that market economy is the same thing everywhere. They should rather first explain the different economic policies of different countries and then ask people which ones they think are the most effective.

  • http://simplydesigned.tumblr.com/ maybeabanana

    Communistic believes will override American ones which really is socialism in disguise (obama) where both is only a few degrees in separation. Neither is good as both is corrupt.

    • Lindum

      Congratulations on 3 grammatical errors in 2 sentences. Your grammar is better than your logic or knowledge of political philosophy.

  • Felix

    This survey shows two things: 1st, a majority of Chinese people are fooled by government propaganda; 2nd, pew did a terrible survey. I think the 2nd reason makes more sense.