Major survey: One country having huge impact on national economies

By Andrew Powell

(Image by Claudia Peters from Pixabay)

For many years, the People’s Republic of China has been spreading funding into developing countries around the world in strategic areas. Headed by President Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party has been using its influence to commandeer land, resources, and other assets to advance its agenda.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center, shows just how deep that influence goes, with most people in 35 nations saying they believe China has had a large impact on their respective countries’ economies.

In almost all the 35 countries polled by Pew researchers – 44,166 people between January and May 2024 spanning across six continents and ranging in income levels – said China has, at the very least, a fair amount of influence on economic conditions.

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Researchers asked a similar question in 2019, and since then, this sentiment has grown substantially, though researchers note that whether people view the influence as good or bad varies greatly.

Middle-income countries had 47% of its population say the influence was positive, while 57% of people from wealthier countries viewed it as a negative. In a May report, a whopping 81% of adult Americans viewed China unfavorably.

In 2013, China launched its Belt and Road Initiative, which has since invested more than $3 trillion in 10 years, with the report noting this is the highest investment overseas by China’s Ministry of Commerce in the last eight years.

These investments have not been without some controversy. Many have questioned the environmental impacts Chinese firms have on foreign environments, and concerns have been voiced about the treatment of workers, and whether the Chinese investments truly benefit local economies or if they are, in fact, harmful competition.

However, despite these concerns, Pew notes 72% of middle-income nations still have a favorable view of Chinese companies operating in their lands. Thailand had 81% of those polled saying they viewed China’s influence on their economy as positive, Kenya had 80%, while Bangladesh had 79%.

Ghana, Nigeria, the Philippines and South Africa had four-in-ten people say they do not believe Chinese companies treat local workers fairly, while Ghana and South Africa also had a large share of people saying China does not work to protect the environment.

In the Asia-Pacific region, China is currently in disputes over territory – which includes the South and East China Seas, and the border between India and China. Researchers point out many of the countries surveyed in the region are concerned about such disputes.

According to the report, three-quarters of people in Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and South Korea have expressed concerns about territorial disputes, while the Philippines has recently been engaged in conflict with the Chinese coast guard.

“Across the Asia-Pacific region, we also asked people whether China contributes to peace and stability around the world. Opinion is divided: In Malaysia and Thailand, around two-thirds or more see it playing this role. About three-in-ten or fewer say the same in Australia, India, Japan and South Korea,” the report says.

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