The Chinese consider corruption the biggest blot on the country's international image, followed by counterfeit and shoddy goods, and pollution, a recent survey has found.
The poll conducted by the Horizon Research Consultancy Group said 59.2 percent of respondents think corruption among government officials hurts China's image the most.
The telephone survey polled 1,350 people in five major cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chongqing - in mid-December.
About 44.1 percent of the interviewees ranked counterfeit and shoddy products as a major problem area.
It was followed by pollution (31.4 percent), uncivil conduct (22.7 percent) and industrial accidents (10.3 percent).
It was the third consecutive year people picked corruption as the biggest blemish on the country's reputation.
Shi Yinhong, an expert on international studies at Beijing-based Renmin University of China, said the survey indicated that ordinary people tend to look at the country's international image from a "domestic perspective".
In both Chinese and foreign media, corruption "has been severely criticized", Shi noted. But he did not think it is the most serious factor hurting China's international image.
"People chose corruption as the biggest problem mainly because they feel resentful about it."
Ye Duchu, a professor at the Central Party School, said the survey reflected the public's growing unhappiness with corruption.
"But we should also note that the leadership of the Communist Party of China has taken positive steps to curb corruption," he told China Daily yesterday.
Last year saw 15 senior officials at provincial- or ministry-level removed from their posts as the nation stepped up the battle against graft.
"People are more aware about supervising the government and officials, which in turn makes them more concerned about corruption," the professor said.
The main way to improve China's international image is to deal well with domestic affairs, Shi said.
"It requires better handling of problems ranging from corruption to narrowing the wealth gap, balancing economic growth and environmental protection," he said.