China trails U.S. in 'soft power' in Asia -study

The U.S. ranks at the top of overall soft power rankings by poll respondents in China, Japan and South Korea and is a close second in Indonesia and Vietnam.

China trails U.S. in 'soft power' in Asia -study
Despite a surging economy and growing geopolitical clout, China ranks far below the United States in the opinion of Asian countries, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The poll measuring perceptions of soft power -- the non-military ways a country exerts influence -- in the United States and five Asian countries also found what researchers called a "worrisome disconnect" between U.S. and Chinese citizens' views of each other.

"In terms of soft power in Asia -- the ability to wield influence by indirect, non-military means, whether by persuasion or attraction -- China ranks well below the United States in the estimation of most of the Asians surveyed," said the poll, conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the East Asia Institute.

The survey included 6,000 interviews in China, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and the United States in January and February. It touched on opinions in areas including popular culture, commercial prowess and brands, intellectual influence, universities, diplomatic reputations and political systems.

The U.S. ranks at the top of overall soft power rankings by poll respondents in China, Japan and South Korea and is a close second in Indonesia and Vietnam. China was considered more influential by Southeast Asians than by Northeast Asians.

"China is lagging behind on a wide variety of fronts," said report co-author Christopher Whitney, executive director for studies at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Respondents in every country except Indonesia ranked the United States higher in terms of political, cultural, diplomatic and economic soft power. In many areas, China was also eclipsed by Japan and South Korea, the survey showed.

China received deep respect for its ancient culture, which has strongly influenced many neighbors, but suffered in the rankings from an "overall sense of unease" about China's political system and its rising geopolitical clout, Whitney said.

Goodwill derived from sources as disparate as Hollywood films and U.S. universities showed that "it's possible to not like what the United States does at a policy level and still want to wear Levi's or drink Coca-Cola," he said in an interview.

The survey found that despite close U.S.-China diplomatic relations and mushrooming trade, there was "a worrisome disconnect between American perceptions of China, which have deteriorated, and mostly positive Chinese perceptions of the United States."

On a zero-to-100 scale where 50 is neutral, U.S. poll respondents gave China an average rating of 35, down from 40 in 2006. Chinese, however, gave the United States a rating of 61 -- a 10-point increase over the 2006 survey results showed.

"It's clear that the respective publics are not on the same page," Whitney said.

Reuters
Last Mod: 17 Haziran 2008, 12:48
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