Nearly 80% find current global economic order unfair: Global Times poll

Jan 6, 2023
World Trade Organisation (WTO) at the entrance of its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Global Times released the second part of the annual survey that covered participants from 33 countries on 28 December, which showed that most participants from Western countries are unsatisfied with the current development of their countries while those from China and many non-Western countries or emerging economies are more satisfied and optimistic about their future, and many participants, especially the ones from non-Western world, believe that China could be a role model for development and able to play a leadership role to guide global development.

The survey, conducted by the Global Times Research Center, is released annually. From October 29 to December 6 this year, the survey which included 30 questions related to China-US relations, global security and development, received more than 36,000 effective samples from 33 countries including China, the US, Russia, France, the UK, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, India, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and South Korea.

GT’s 2022 Global Public Opinion Survey. Editor:Huo Siyu/GT,Graphic:Xu Zihe/GT

Satisfaction and confidence

The survey showed that about 30 percent of participants are satisfied with the current development of their countries while more than 40 percent are not satisfied, and the rest keeps a neutral attitude. Most participants from non-Western countries including China (72 percent), Saudi Arabia (75 percent), the United Arab Emirates (69 percent), Singapore (67 percent), Vietnam (57 percent) and India (58 percent) are satisfied, while participants from European countries, as well as the US and its allies like South Korea and Japan are mostly not satisfied.

How people think of their country’s development is an indicator that reflects how the overall governance of a country performs.

According to the survey, more than half from the UK, France, Germany and Spain held a negative view on development situation of their countries. The pessimistic view from the public among the old capitalist Western countries toward their own countries comes from their rising unemployment and higher inflation, which is mainly caused by the US financial policy and strategy that promoted bloc confrontation, experts said.

The US’ irresponsible and selfish financial policy has impacted people’s daily lives around the globe and at the same time Washington continues to hype up tensions and conflict in Europe and Asia-Pacific region to divert capital from around the globe to flow into the US. Europe has also felt great shock from rising energy bills after the breakout of Russia-Ukraine crisis, Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times.

Following the trend of “the East is rising and the West is declining,” China’s development is bringing an outpouring of great opportunity for the world. Therefore, Asian countries that have close economic and political ties with China will intend to believe they could achieve their development goal through cooperation with China, and the sustainable peace and stability that is mainly contributed by China in their region, Gao noted.

Gao said considering the economic law, the growth of developing countries has started slowing down but profits for investment in Asian countries like China are still high, which means opportunities for Asian countries are far higher than for those from other continents. It is the key source of confidence among the public in Asia.

Who’s the leader?

When asked on who is playing a positive and significant role in promoting global development in the survey, 43 percent of participants chose the US, and 38 percent chose China, and Germany got 27 percent and Japan 26 percent.

In African countries like South Africa (55 percent), Kenya (64 percent) and Nigeria (57 percent), as well as non-Western countries like China (84 percent), Russia (67 percent), Kazakhstan (52 percent) and Pakistan (74 percent) and Indonesia (53 percent), more than 50 percent of the participants consider China, not the US, is playing a more positive and significant role in promoting global development.

Analysts said although “the East is rising and the West is declining” is a trend, “the West is still more developed than the East” is a fact. Therefore, it’s reasonable that more people around the globe have a direct sense of US’ economic influence.

“Data have showed that both China and the US are two major countries that have contributed the most to global economic development but a more correct conclusion should be: China has greatly contributed to global stability and economic development while the world is in turbulence,” Zhang Shengjun, a professor at the School of Government, Beijing Normal University.

Zhang said the main reasons why a higher percentage of interviewees believe the US has played a higher positive role in global development is because its “positive” impression is shaped by the US media and government through its effort to beautify its role in the Ukraine crisis and the stigmatisation propaganda against China.

Under such conditions, there are still nearly 40 percent of people who agreed that China plays a positive and substantial role for global development, which reflects that the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative as well as China’s responsible behaviours and concrete contribution in the international arena have successfully shaped a deep-rooted positive impression to many people worldwide, experts said.

“If leaders are needed in global development, which countries would you like to take up the mantle?” When answering the question in the survey, the following five countries got the most votes in the survey – the US (33 percent), China (23 percent), Japan (20 percent), the UK (20 percent) and Germany (20 percent), while some also picked France and Russia.

Most people from Russia, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Pakistan and China, as well as many from African countries like Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, chose China.

Many countries have attached great hopes upon China for development. China’s experience for development is not only helpful for the developing countries, but also offers a solution for those countries that yearn for a rapid development and at the same time remain its independence to withstand the interference from the US hegemony and Westernisation that could caused serious internal unrests, Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

Analysts said China’s main strategy at this stage is to develop itself and create development opportunities for other countries to share the dividends brought by China’s own modernisation, and China has never wished to become a dominant global hegemony like the US, to impose hegemonic influence to others or even interfere in other countries’ domestic affairs with colour revolution and military intervention.

GT’s 2022 Global Public Opinion Survey. Editor:Huo Siyu/GT,Graphic:Xu Zihe/GT

Peace and war

The survey also showed that most people around the globe find “the current global economic order is unfair” (78 percent) and “the Western-launched globalisation has triggered many problems” (54 percent). The world is asking for reform and improvement of the world order and globalisation. And 47 percent of participants worldwide believe that “the core logic behind the ‘rules-based international order’ narrative mentioned by the current US administration” is actually an order to serve the US hegemony.

While answering “Where do you think the United States is likely to provoke a conflict or start a war in the next five years?” Most people picked the Middle East (24 percent) and Central and Eastern Europe (21 percent), and the Asia-Pacific region (15 percent).

Military conflicts break out in a region where the balance of power has broken down and then the external powers have chance to interfere, while regional peace comes after there is a balance of power among the regional countries, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

When the balance of power between Central and Eastern Europe countries and Russia broke down, the US and NATO were able to step in, which in the end led to regional confrontation, Song explained.

“The reason why people think wars and chaos were less likely to happen in the Asia-Pacific region has a lot to do with China’s responsibility as a major power in the region,” Song said. “As an important force in maintaining regional peace and stability, the stronger China becomes the more peaceful the Asia-Pacific region will be.”

In contrast, the US kept improving its military, economic and technological capacity in order to maintain the international order and rules of the game dominated by itself, which will certainly change the balance of power in the region, especially when the US wants to gather more allies to confront against a certain country, said Song.

Song said China must strengthen its own comprehensive capabilities as the US continues to drive its allies against China. “Only by achieving the dynamic balance of power, can the Asia-Pacific region stay in a stable state. Once the balance is broken down, the likelihood of military conflict in the region will greatly increase,” he warned.


Original article published in the Global Times, December 29, 2022

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