SHANGHAI - United States citizens have increasingly formed favorable impressions of China with the deepening of understanding between the two countries, according to the latest survey.
The survey, conducted from June through November 2010 by the Institute of Arts and Humanities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in collaboration with Duke University in North Carolina and Indiana University, is part of a larger research project on global attitudes toward China.
"It is the first time that a Chinese research institute initiated a survey on Americans' impressions of China," said Liu Kang, dean of the institute, who led the survey.
Compared to earlier surveys by the Pew Research Center and the Gallup Organization, the latest one focused on exploring the underlying reasons for holding certain public opinions, making more of an effort to link people's perceptions to their cultural and political contexts, Liu said.
The survey, which proceeded by conducting in-depth interviews with 810 US citizens, found that China's economic achievement was acknowledged by 64.3 percent of respondents, who said China has an internationally competitive economy.
It also found that 42.1 percent of respondents did not agree with the statement "China manipulates currency to its advantage in international trade", while 28.9 percent were neutral toward it.
The findings demonstrate a lack of public support for the current US administration, which put pressure on China for the yuan to appreciate in value, the survey report said.
Moreover, 61 percent of those surveyed agreed that "China has been influential in world politics" and 77 percent said they expected China's influence to increase over the next 10 years.
Most of the respondents attached great importance to the US-Sino relationship and expressed the belief that the two countries share many common interests.
Nearly 60 percent of the respondents agreed that the US economy would suffer if trade relations were severed with China.
Some 71.8 percent of the respondents saw China as an ally or maintained a neutral attitude toward it, while 27.3 percent viewed China as an enemy of the United States.
But when it came to issues where the two countries' interests were at odds with each other, most of the respondents were patriotically defensive of their country.
The survey found that 62.7 percent of the respondents thought the Obama Administration is not "tough enough" on issues concerning China.
The survey organizers said they were surprised to discover that Chinese culture had failed to register among the respondents.
The results showed that 72.5 percent of the respondents disagreed with the statement "China has an appealing popular culture", while only 40.6 percent agreed that China has a rich cultural heritage.
"Chinese people have long been proud of the country's 5,000-year-old civilization, but apparently the Americans did not resonate with us on this," Liu said, noting that China should redouble its efforts to develop cultural power through increased international exchanges.
The survey generally found that people with higher educational backgrounds have more knowledge about and understanding of China, and that the impressions they hold are more positive, said Liu, who added that the media play an important role in shaping public perceptions of China.
The survey report is expected to be a significant referent in furthering Sino-US relations, which have entered an important stage of development, he said.