China’s Economic Growth Mostly Welcomed in Emerging Markets, but Neighbors Wary of Its Influence

Laura Silver, kat Devlin and Christine Huang ( Pew research Center) |

China has emerged as a global economic superpower in recent decades. It is not only the world’s second largest economy and the largest exporter by value, but it has also been investing in overseas infrastructure and development at a rapid clip as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that, particularly in emerging markets, publics largely have a positive view of China’s economic stature. People generally see China’s growing economy as a good thing for their country and believe China is having a predominantly positive influence on their country’s economic affairs.

But, even while China’s rise is largely perceived as positive in emerging economies, there are pockets of discontent. First, even in the nations that welcome China’s economic growth, few feel similarly about its growing military might. Rather, most tend to view China’s growing military as something bad for their own countries. Second, China’s neighbors generally take a much more negative stance toward China’s military and economic growth than other countries surveyed. For example, in the Asia-Pacific region, more tend to see investment from China as a potential liability, giving Beijing too much influence over their economies. These same countries are also more likely than others to see U.S. economic influence in their country positively. And, when it comes to developed countries, views of China are much more mixed to negative. Generally, countries with stronger human rights records and lower levels of corruption tend to be much less keen on China.

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