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Fear of China

DW staff (ncy)April 15, 2008

Europeans see China as being a greater threat to global stability than the United States or Iran, an opinion poll published Tuesday, April 15, discovered.

Performers take part in a ceremony to mark the one year count down to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Aug. 8, 2007
China's rise has Europeans concernedImage: AP

The survey, which Harris pollsters carried out for the Financial Times, found that an average of 35 percent of voters in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain saw China as the greatest threat. Twenty-nine percent named the United States.

In a similar poll last year, the United States was viewed as the greatest threat.

In Italy, 47 percent named China, up from 26 percent last year. Thirty-six percent of French respondents thought the same of China, up from 22 percent last year, compared with 35 percent of Germans, an increase from 18 percent. Twenty-seven percent of the British voters queried also chose China, up from 16 percent in 2007.

Chinese paramilitary police march onto Beijing's Tiananmen Square to perform the daily flag raising ceremony
Europeans are more worried about the Chinese than about the IraniansImage: AP

The Spanish alone pointed to the United States as a bigger threat than China, by 41 to 28 percent.

The poll was carried out between March 28 and April 8, shortly after the wave of protests and riots in Tibet that were quelled by a Chinese crackdown and in the early stages of the controversial Olympic torch relay.

Harris interviewed 5,391 voters, a little more than a thousand people in each of the five western European countries.