`Most Chinese doubt superpower status for China`

China this year has emerged as the second largest economy of the world.

Last Updated: Dec 31, 2010, 15:39 PM IST

Beijing: Majority of Chinese doubt China`s status as a superpower, according to an annual survey which also showed declining trend even among those who believed their country to be the most promising among BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations.

"Despite an increase in national pride, fewer people categorised China as a world superpower, compared with the previous four annual polls," state-run Global Times which conducted the survey reported on Friday.

Though China this year has emerged as the second largest economy of the world, next only to US, enhancing China`s economic might and its political and diplomatic leverage - the two major parameters in defining a superpower - only 12 percent of respondents deemed China to be a "superpower”, compared to 14.4 percent in 2008.

The survey also noted a declining trend in Chinese confidence levels about their country among BRIC countries. Fifty seven percent voted China as the most promising emerging nation among BRIC countries compared to 67 percent last year, the survey said.

However, 84 percent of respondents sounded optimistic about the future global setting for China`s rise, seeing either improving or stabilising ties with other major global players.

More than a third of respondents say the relationship between China and Europe improved during the past year, with fewer negative factors such as trade friction, human rights and religious issues compared with previous years.

However, more than 80 percent of the participants expressed their concern about Western intentions to contain China`s development, with around 40 percent calling for countermeasures to be taken against threats to China.

Among the issues of greatest concern, US intentions to strategically contain China placed ahead of trade disputes as the most important bilateral issue this year. Ties with Washington were chosen as the most significant bilateral relationship for China for the fifth consecutive year.

Jin Canrong, vice director of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China, told the daily that the survey findings reflect the dynamics of this year with the US strengthening its presence in Asia.

"Some Chinese remain suspicious of the outside world, especially the Western countries. They still don`t trust these countries," he said.

"The result shows that Chinese people are becoming more objective when considering these issues," Wu Xinbo, deputy director of the Centre for American Studies at Fudan University said. The survey conducted by the Global Poll Centre run by the Global Times is based on telephone interviews of a random sampling of 1,488 people in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chongqing to analyse how Chinese see the world.

The survey stated that majority of Chinese would like to travel with in China than abroad even though 19 percent more selected the US as the foreign country they would most like to visit, followed by France. Twenty one percent said they had no desire to visit foreign countries.

More than half of participants in the survey said China`s international status was boosted in the past year by the Shanghai World Expo, while more than 60 percent denounced corrupt officials for tarnishing China`s global image.

The poll also reflects the belief that the quality of "made-in-China" products is gradually getting better, with 80 percent of those polled expressing their hope that improvements were being made.

Ties with South Korea, drawing more attention in this latest survey, with 46 percent of respondents saying the tensions on the Korean Peninsula will be eased in the coming year due to China`s diplomatic role.

Su Hao, director of the Strategy and Conflict Management Research Centre at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times that the result showed that Chinese people have high expectations for China to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Looking at relations with Japan, more than half of participants said the ties were unlikely to deteriorate next year.

PTI