Global Times survey: Chinese youngsters more confident, objective facing the West

By GT staff reporters

BEIJING, Oct. 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — More Chinese youngster agreed that China can look at the West from an equal position. But there are also a notable part of them who acknowledge that China still lags behind the West in some aspects such as technologies, social welfare and film and television industries, and call for enhanced exchanges with Western countries, according to a latest survey of the Global Times Research Center. 

The results showed that nowadays Chinese youngsters are growingly confident in their own country given China’s magnificent achievements, but meanwhile they also have a very objective and clear understanding that the major gap between China and the West lies in the field of ideology. To achieve the long-term development goal, China still needs to continue efforts and learn and cooperate with the West in various fields, analysts said.

Being confident while also acknowledging our own shortcomings, this is in fact a higher level of confidence, Yang Xiyu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.

The West in this survey includes the US, member nations of the European Union, the UK, Japan, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The survey was conducted in September and October, covering 1,655 youngsters aged 14-35 from 110 Chinese cities.

The survey showed that nearly 65 percent of the respondents agreed that now China can look at the West from an equal position, with two main reasons that “it is the natural result of China’s continuous development and strengthening” and “China plays a prominent role in the international arena and should be more confident.” Some of the group agreed that China and the West have their own advantages in different fields and can learn from each other.

This generation of young people grew up in an age when China began to accumulate capacity. They have witnessed the process of China’s rapid progress to a modernized state, and have enjoyed the benefits of modernization, Chinese analysts said.

Despite the confidence, Chinese youngsters are aware that China still has a long way to exceed the West in many other fields and achieved its long-term development goal.

According to the survey, 2.5 percent of the respondents warned that “there is still an obvious gap between China and the West, so we should not be blindly overconfident.”

In specific fields, 24.5 percent of the respondents agreed China still lags behind the West in technologies; 22.6 percent thought China is behind the West in social welfare and 16.6 percent thought we lag behind the West in film and television industry.

About 37 percent of the respondents called for strengthening exchanges and communications with the West via social media platform; 31.8 percent called on more cooperation in environment protection and 31.1 percent called for expanded trade and investment.

The younger generation in China has shown confidence in viewing the West, and they can also see some of our own shortcomings, and I think admitting our own shortcomings is a higher level of self-confidence, analysts said.

Having the courage to admit inadequacies and face up to the gaps are actually an important part of strategic self-confidence. In other words, self-confidence includes not only challenging competitors, but also valuing competitors and facing them squarely, analysts noted.