I hate articles like these that
The Pew Global Attitude Project is this wonderful treasure trove of information which is why I hate it when someone takes one number from it and generalizes to make faulty conclusions.
First of all, you see similar disconnects between the US opinions of itself and world opinions of the US. Also, if you look at the numbers you’ll see that attitudes toward China vary wildly from nation to nation. There are places in the world with wildly positive views of China (Russia and Pakistan) and places in the world with wildly negative views of China (Japan and Western Europe). So when you ask someone “what does the world think about China” and then you don’t specific “where in the world” then you aren’t going to get a good answer.
The reason that I think that the Chinese firewall *doesn’t* have that much of an influence on Chinese attitudes is that if they did, you’d see marked shifts in attitudes between Chinese in China and overseas Chinese who live outside the firewall, and my anecdotal impression is that you don’t.
The notion that Chinese are ignorant and propagandized is something that really hurts political change in China, since it gives people the idea that “if those poor Chinese knew the truth, that they would come to our enlightened way of thinking.” It’s rather condescending, since I don’t think that the average Chinese is more ignorant about the world or more susceptable to government propaganda than the average American is. And it’s not true because it implies that the more contact China has with the West the more likely it is to adopt “enlightened Western attitudes” which I doubt is the case.