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Who's Afraid of the Dragon? Asian Mass Publics’ Perceptions of China's Influence


In what countries and among which individuals in Asia is China's influence seen as least favorable? Drawing upon AsiaBarometer survey data from 12 Asian societies between 2006 and 2008, this study tests a series of hypotheses aimed at identifying those variables that most consistently predict individuals’ perceptions of China. With the exceptions of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam, a clear plurality or a majority of respondents in each polity views China's influence positively. Concerns about domestic economic management were most consistently associated with perceptions of China that are more unfavorable, while greater levels of contact with the Chinese film and television culture were consistently associated with perceptions of China that are more favorable. These results suggest that China is more likely to be seen as an economic rather than military threat by Asian publics, and that Asia may prove responsive to a nuanced soft power campaign by Beijing in the future.

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Japanese Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 1468-1099
  • EISSN: 1474-0060
  • URL: /core/journals/japanese-journal-of-political-science
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