Over 70% of expats have little knowledge about China: survery

Updated: 08 Jun 2015
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Most foreigners have little knowledge about Chinese culture, according to the latest survey.
The survey, conducted by Beijing Normal University and the research platform Survey Sampling International from October to December last year, polled 2,407 respondents aged between 18 and 65 from six countries consisting of the UK, France, the U.S., Japan, Australia and South Korea.
According to the survey, foreigners showed little knowledge about Chinese culture as a whole. About 74 percent failed in the test. Respondents from the U.S. showed the greatest familiarity with Chinese culture, followed by Japan and South Korea, while those from France and Australia were less familiar with Chinese culture.
The respondents were asked about what they know about Chinese culture in terms of Chinese historical icons, philosophies, arts, natural resources, lifestyle and humanistic resources.
"Japan and South Korea differed in their impression and interest in Chinese culture, with South Koreans being more positive while the Japanese more negative, and that might be related to bilateral relations and their nationals' mindset," said Yu Dan, a professor at the university who led the survey.
"People in the West know about China's past glory more than its contemporary achievements. It will take some years for greater awareness of these achievements," John Ross, senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, told the Global Times.
Ross explained that the Japanese and South Koreans are more familiar with Chinese culture because they share certain cultural traditions, while the U.S. studies China because it thinks China will be the next great power.
Respondents recognized specific cultural symbols such as "panda" and "green tea" but were unfamiliar with more abstract ones like Chinese philosophies and the arts, said the survey.
Most cultures are founded on a religion but Confucianism dominated Chinese culture. It is in some way easier for Europeans to understand a religious framework, said Ross.
Meanwhile, the survey said the respondents showed a strong willingness to know more about Chinese culture, but most of them were hesitant to see them in a positive way.
"As China becomes more powerful and prosperous, interest in China will rise. Even if its soft power projection is very skillful, it cannot change foreigners' perception as much as China's hard power," said Ross.
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Comments Area ( Total Comments: 3 )
robertmorrison Commented on 09 Jun 2015
This is crap but like most of the 'news' here it fits... Garbage news, thanks WOX
TheHumanFly Commented on 09 Jun 2015
For the last 5 years I have noticed an increased disdain for western foreigners in Xiamen City. Officials grossly take advantage of those who in their kind hearts come here to help out, and find that while helping they are denied workers benefits that could be most beneficial and really are required by Chinese law. Most have no idea or are reluctant to raise an issue, non the less their is wrong doing in mix. Article like this poorly reflect those who have taken China to their hearts and attempts to cast a bad light on Chinese residents who have come from other countries.
RedCynic Commented on 08 Jun 2015
With approximately 200,000 expats living in Shanghai alone, I dare say (without bothering to search for sensis numbers)...the numbers of non-Chinese living here would easily surpass a million.

To state that 'most foreigners have little knowledge about Chinese culture' is both misleading and a sign of bad research.

The number of people surveyed is close too 1% of the expat population of one city, let alone the entire country.

Bad headline, bad research.....not news.