Inkstone Index: Europe’s view of China is worsening

Inkstone Index: Europe’s view of China is worsening

48%: The percentage of Europeans who viewed China less favorably during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Nearly half of all respondents to surveys in nine major EU countries said their views of China worsened during the Covid-19 crisis, the European Council on Foreign Relations said.

The darkening view of China was the starkest in France and Denmark, where 62% of respondents said they saw the country more negatively since the outbreak of the pandemic in Europe in early 2020, according to data compiled by the think tank.

A minority of respondents reported having a more favorable view of China in eight of the nine countries.

The European Council on Foreign Relations attributed the worsening perception of China to its “openly hostile rhetoric” against Western democracies. 

This suggests that Beijing’s “wolf warrior diplomacy” – an attempt to fiercely defend itself against foreign criticism and promote the strength of the Chinese political system – may have backfired.

China's aggressive foreign diplomacy in Europe during the coronavirus pandemic might have worsened Europeans' view of the country. Illustration: Inkstone/Tom Leung