How Asians View A Rising China

Report
How East Asians View A
Rising China: Implications for
Taiwan
Yun-han Chu
Nottingham, March 11, 2014
1
Competition over Soft Power
 Entering the 21st century more countries are
increasingly placing the emphasis on the projection of
benign country images. Such projections are critical
not only for building partnerships for strengthening
economic cooperation and addressing mutual security
concerns but also for gaining access to new markets.
 The ancient Chinese thinkers had also long upheld
the motto of "making the people near-by satisfied and
the people from afar to join you"(近悅遠來)as the
guiding principle of engaging other peoples.
 However, it is only in the recent decade that the
concept of "soft power" -- ability to produce outcomes
through persuasion and attraction rather than
coercion or payment -- has entered into the lexicons
of Chinese policy makers.
China’s Effort of National Image
Management
 Over the recent decade, Chinese policy elite
has increasingly recognized that for a rising
power like China soft power and national
image management are essential aspects of
its foreign policy agenda.
 Hu Jingtao in his official address told the
17th Congress of the Chinese Communist
Party that China needed to enhance “the
soft power of its culture.”
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China’s Charm Offense
Over the last decade Chinese government
has invested billions of dollars to cultivate
and upgrade its soft power resources.
 Confucius Institutes around the world
 A 24-hour CCTV Cable News Channel
 The 2008 Beijing Olympics
 The 2010 Shanghai Expo
 Boao Forum for Asia
4
Growing Popular Awareness
 There has been growing interest among ordinary
citizens throughout Asia in developments in China.
 China-related topics top Asian agendas and fill
television programs and newspaper pages.
 Most Asian people were tremendously impressed
by China's miraculous economic growth and
amazed by the fact that China’s GDP has passed
Japan in 2010 and now ranks the second largest
economy in the world.
 In particular, China suddenly emerged as the
buyer of the last resort after the 2008-09 subprime loans crisis and the ensuing global financial
crisis.
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How China Is Perceived By Asians?
 It is important to look at the story at the
receivers’ side as Joe Nye correctly
pointed out that soft power depends on
willing interpreters and receivers.
 While Asian people have increasingly been
reckoned with the China’s political and
economic might, they are not necessarily
persuaded by its stated foreign policy
objectives and strategic intention, and
much less attracted by its political system.
6
Very Little Empirical Data
 Pew Global Attitudes Survey is the only cross-
national survey that collects public opinion data
on people's image about China on regular basis.
However, the Pew Survey has so far covered
only a few East Asian countries and in its recent
survey of 2012 only Japan and China
 A recent BBC Global Scan poll on how the
China's influence in the world is viewed by other
countries also only covered China, Japan, South
Korea and Indonesia.
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Asian Barometer Survey
 The Asian Barometer Survey fills up an important
void in our understanding of the phenomenon of
China’s rise and its implications for policy makers.
 It was administered in thirteen East Asian
countries and territories on the basis of countrywide probability sampling and face-to-face
interview.
 It can answer to what extend China’s growing
economic influence and international stature might
have been translated into greater soft power.
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www.asianbarometer.org
9
Asian Barometer Third Wave Survey Schedule
Period
Country
Sample Size
1
Taiwan
January-February 2010
1592
2
Philippines
March 2010
1200
3
Mongolia
April -May 2010
1210
4
Singapore
April-August 2010
1000
5
Vietnam
September-October 2010
1191
6
Thailand
August-December 2010
1512
7
Korea
May 2011
1207
8
Indonesia
May 2011
1550
9
Mainland China
July-October 2011
3473
10
Malaysia
October-November 2011
1214
11
Japan
December 2011
1880
12
Cambodia
February-March 2012
1200
13
Hong Kong
September 2012
1103
10
Table 1. Which country has the most influence in Asia now?
Country
China
United States
Vietnam
69%
16%
Taiwan
67%
21%
Mongolia
66%
13%
Japan
61%
29%
Singapore
60%
28%
Korea
56%
32%
China
44%
25%
Thailand
42%
44%
Malaysia
36%
44%
Cambodia
26%
58%
Indonesia
23%
41%
Philippines
17%
66%
Southeast Asia’s Average
39%
42%
East Asia’s Average
47%
35%
Data source: ABS Wave III (2010-2012)
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Table 2. Which country will have the most influence in ten years?
Country
China
United States
Korea
83%
9%
Taiwan
82%
10%
Singapore
73%
13%
Mongolia
71%
9%
Vietnam
70%
16%
Japan
65%
13%
China
59%
11%
Thailand
56%
31%
Malaysia
44%
26%
Cambodia
43%
34%
Indonesia
31%
33%
Philippines
17%
65%
Southeast Asia’s Average
48%
31%
East Asia’s Average
58%
22%
12
13
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Figure 3: Positive Imange of China: Comparing Different Surveys
120
97
100
95
97
95
95
94
86
80
63
59
58
53
60
51
26
19
10
Indonesia
48
38
33
40
Korea
58
41
20
Japan
67
China
34
26
15
14
0
ABS 201012
BBC 2012
Pew 2008
Pew 2009
Pew 2010
Pew 2011
Pew 2012
15
Three Competing Explanations
 Geopolitical and Security Consideration
 Military threat
 Territorial dispute
 Competition over scare resources
 Economic Consideration:
 Opportunity vs. Challenge
 Compatible vs. Competitive
 Interdependence vs. Dependency
 Ideological and Cultural Consideration
 Convergence vs. divergence over core values
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 Cultural affinity vs. cultural distance
Democratic Distance
4.000
Perceived Democrati Distance
3.500
Japan
Taiwan
3.000
2.500
Korea
2.000
1.500
Malaysia
Singapore
Cambodia
1.000
.500
Thailand
Mongolia
Indonesia
Philippines
China
.000
.000
.100
.200
.300
.400
.500
.600
Proportion of Positive View of China
.700
.800
.900
17
Cultural Distance
Average Score of Social Traditionalism
.150
China
Cambodia
Singapore
.100
.050
Philippines
.000
Malaysia
Indonesia
-.050
Mongolia
Thailand
Taiwan
-.100
Korea
-.150
Japan
-.200
-.250
.000
.100
.200
.300
.400
.500
.600
Proportion of Positive View of China
.700
.800
.900
18
Economic Evaluation
.800
Positive Evaluation of Economic Condition
China
.700
.600
Singapore
.500
Malaysia
Cambodia
.400
Philippines
.300
Indonesia
.200
Taiwan
Thailand
.100
Mongolia
Japan
Korea
.000
.000
.100
.200
.300
.400
.500
.600
.700
.800
.900
-.100
Positive Perception of China's Influence
19
Support for Economic Openness
Support for Economic Openness
5.500
China
5.000
Japan
Singapore
Taiwan
4.500
4.000
Malaysia
Korea
Philippines
Indonesia
Vietnam
3.500
Cambodia
Mongolia
Thailand
3.000
.000
.100
.200
.300
.400
.500
.600
.700
Positive Perception of China's Influence on the Region
.800
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Table 3: Correlation Analysis
Viewing China's
Impact on the
Region as Positive
Viewing China's
Influence on Our
Country as
Positive
Rubric of Cultural Explanation
1. Perceived Democratic Distance
-.149**
-.180**
2. Social Traditionalism
.137**
.177**
3. Liberal Democratic Values
-.106**
-.184**
4. Support for Democracy
.029**
.028**
1. Support for Economic
Openness
.087**
.049**
2. Evaluating Country's Economic
Condition
.238**
.305**
3. Subjective Household Income
.075**
.066**
4. Currently Employed
.048**
.043**
1. Age
-.021*
-.020*
2. Education
-.055**
-.117**
Rubric of Economic Explanation
Social Background
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Economic Explanation
 At the individual level, the most important
variable predicating a respondent’s view on the
rise of China is his/her assessment of the overall
economic condition.
 People who give an upbeat assessment of the
overall economy are more likely to view China as
a benign superpower and consider its influence
as largely positive.
 People who are unhappy with the overall
economy tend to view China’s rise in a negative
way. In a sense, people tend to blame China for
their country's economic malaise.
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Political Values Matter As Well
 East Asians’ view on China’s rise is also driven
by one’s political perception and beliefs.
 People who think that their country’s level of
democratic level is significantly more advanced
than that of China tend to view China’s rise in a
negative way.
 People who are less conscious of the difference
in political system between China and their own
country are more likely to consider China as a
benign superpower and evaluate China’s
influence in a positive way.
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Conclusion: Widespread
Recognition of China’s Rise
 The rise of China has been recognized by
the great majority of East Asians.
 Its growing influence in the region is more
intensively felt by countries that are
geographically or culturally proximate to
China.
 At the same time, there is the phenomenon
of “too close for comfort”.
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Southeast Asians are more
susceptible to China’s charm offense.
 Southeast Asians generally speaking hold a more
sanguine view about the rise of China as their
attitudes toward China are driven more by
economic consideration and less by security
concern or ideological distance.
 In a sense, At the same time, the risk and benefit
brought about by expanding economic ties with
China has distributed very unevenly in many East
Asian countries and thus created polarized views
over the nature of China’s impact especially in the
Northeast Asia countries where laborers, farmers
and office workers feel the economic squeeze
more strongly.
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Policy Implications
 The empirical findings we presented above are
largely compatible with the long-running policy
pursued by a great majority of East Asian
countries.
 Contrary to the theoretical prediction of the
neorealists, most of them avoid pursuing either a
balancing or bandwagoning strategy.
 In the face of the intensified strategic competition
between China and the United States, most of
them avoid having to choose one side at the
obvious expense of the other.
 Whenever possible they opt for maximizing
benefits from deepening economic ties with China
while maintaining a close security relation with the
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United States for hedging potential risks.
Implications for Taiwan
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Partisanship and Predicting which country will
be most influential in Asia in 10 years
90.0
80.6
80.0
70.3
69.2
70.0
60.0
1 China
50.0
2 USA
3 Others
40.0
9 missing
30.0
16.8
20.0
11.3 11.8
10.0
7.8
6.6
5.7 5.9
7.8 6.1
.0
pan-blue
pan-green
nonpartisan
28
Partisanship and View on How Much Influence
Does China Have on our Country
(Taiwan Asian Barometer Survey, 2010)
70.0
60.0
50.0
A great deal of influence
40.0
Some influence
Not much influence
30.0
No influence at all
20.0
10.0
0.0
pan-blue
pan-green
nonpartisan
29
Partisanship and View on the Nature of
Mainland China's Impact on Taiwan
(Source: ABS Taiwan 2010)
35.0
30.0
25.0
Very positive
Positive
20.0
Somewhat positive
Somewhat negative
15.0
Negative
Very negative
10.0
5.0
.0
pan-blue
pan-green
nonpartisan
30
Level of Education and View on Mainland
China's Impact on Taiwan
30.0
25.0
20.0
Very positive
Positive
Somewhat positive
15.0
Somewhat negative
Negative
Very negative
10.0
5.0
.0
Elementary
Secondary
College
31
Age and View on Mainland China's Imapct on
Taiwan
(source: ABS Taiwan 2010)
35.0
30.0
25.0
Very positive
20.0
Positive
Somewhat positive
Somewhat negative
15.0
Negative
Very negative
10.0
5.0
.0
20-29
30-39
40-49
50-59
over 60
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The Challenges Facing Taiwan
 The island has become increasingly dependent on
mainland China economically and susceptible to its
political influence.
 A rising China poses both risks and opportunities to
Taiwan.
 Taiwanese people are still divided over the risks
and benefits arising from the cross-Strait economic
integration especially along the partisan line.
 It is difficult for the Ma Ying-jeou government to fully
unlock the peace dividends without a strong
popular backing. It is a catch-22 situation.
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The Strategic Rivalry between U.S.
and China
 Taiwan is trailing way behind its major competitors, in
particular South Korea, over expanding its network of freetrade agreements.
 China holds the key to Taiwan’s entrance into regional free
trade pact (RCEP)
 Taipei faces a tougher challenge as Washington's recent
"pivot" to Asia heightens the strategic competition between
the US and China
 It remains to be seen whether Taipei will soon reach a
strategic crossroads where it will become increasingly
difficult to maintain its close economic and security ties with
the US while deepening its cooperative relationship with
Beijing.
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