By Ben Hall in Paris and Geoff Dyer in Shanghai
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
China has overtaken the US as the biggest threat to global stability in the eyes of Europeans, according to a new Harris opinion poll for the Financial Times.
The recent wave of protests and riots in Tibet and the ensuing Chinese crackdown, together with competition from cheap Chinese exports, appear to have dramatically hardened opinion, with the proportion of Europeans who saw China as the biggest threat almost doubling since last year.
The FT/Harris poll, carried out between March 27 and April 8, found an average of 35 per cent of respondents in five European countries saw China as a bigger threat to global stability than any other state. In the US, 31 per cent of respondents also named China, putting it way above Iran and North Korea, which were both perceived as greater threats last year.
The poll was carried out shortly after the unrest in Tibet and during the early stages of the controversial Olympic torch relay. But there were already rising tensions between the European Union and China over trade issues and exchange rates.
Italians were the most concerned about China with 47 per cent naming the country as the biggest threat, compared with 26 per cent when the question was last asked in June 2007. The Italian reaction was primarily an expression of resentment at unfair competition from Chinese manufacturers, said Marta Dassù, director of the Aspen Institute Italia, a Rome-based think-tank. “China is a symbol of what Italians dislike about globalisation,” she said.
The latest Harris poll found that China was the biggest threat for 36 per cent in France, up from 22 per cent last year, 35 per cent in Germany, up from 18 per cent, and 27 per cent in the UK, up from 16 per cent. All three last year ranked the US as a bigger threat.
Only inhabitants of Spain still considered the US to be a bigger threat than China, by 41 per cent to 28 per cent.
“The profile has changed,” said Mark Leonard, executive director of the European Council on Foreign Relations and author of What does China Think?
“The story of the last five years has been about economic opportunities. The story of the last six months has been about China as a threat in Darfur and in Tibet.” The little that Europeans knew about China came from news coverage, recently unfavourable, whereas they were constantly consuming US popular culture, Mr Leonard explained.
英国《金融时报》本•霍尔(Ben Hall)巴黎、杰夫•代尔(Geoff Dyer)上海报道 2008年4月15日 星期二
意大利人对中国担忧最甚，47%的意大利受访者将中国称为最大威胁，而上一次在2007年6月份被问到这个问题时，持此观点的意大利人占26%。总部设在罗马的智囊机构意大利亚斯平研究所(Aspen Institute Italia)所长玛尔塔•达素(Marta Dassù)称，意大利人的反应，主要是表达了对中国制造商不公平竞争的反感。她表示：“中国是意大利人不喜欢全球化的一个象征。”
只有西班牙人仍然认为美国比中国更具威胁性，其比例分别为41%和28%。 欧洲理事会外交关系委员会(European Council on Foreign Relations)执行主任、《中国在想什么？》(What Does China Think?)一书作者马克•莱昂纳德(Mark Leonard)表示：“（中国的）形象已经发生了变化。”