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US survey on Chinese economic clout disputed
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A recent Gallup survey comparing the economic might of China and the United States has drawn different reactions from people on the two sides of the Pacific Ocean.

The Gallup World Affairs Survey found that four out of 10 Americans saw China as the world economic leader, while only 33 per cent picked the US.

Most respondents also said they believed China will likely be the world's top economy in two decades.

The same survey conducted in 2000 had 65 per cent of Americans putting the US as the world's economic leader, while more than half of those polled thought the US would remain the world's top economic powerhouse for the following 20 years.

"I am afraid that public opinion in the US about the Chinese economy has been misled by the Western media," said Liu Liu, a civil servant in Guangzhou.

"It is well known that the economic gap between China and the United States remains huge."

Some analysts say the views of the general public can deviate from reality.

Huang Yiping, an economist at Citigroup, said China's rapid economic growth has fostered an illusion that it could overtake the US as the global economic leader.

"There used to be predictions in the 20th century that Germany, the former Soviet Union or Japan would overtake the US in terms of economic strength, but they all turned out to be wrong," Huang said.

The Gallup poll was conducted from February 11 to 14 and involved telephone interviews with 1,007 adults in the US, with a margin of error of around three percentage points.

The poll was conducted amid economic uncertainty in the US, shaken by turbulence in financial markets, a weak dollar and continuing worries over the fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis.

China's economy, meanwhile, continues to enjoy record growth. The National Bureau of Statistics said last month that GDP growth for last year was 11.4 percent - the fastest in 13 years. It was the fifth year in a row in which growth topped 10 percent.

According to the latest statistics from the World Bank, the US was the world's biggest economy with a GDP of $13.2 trillion in 2006.

China, which had a GDP of close to $2.7 trillion, ranked fourth after Japan ($4.34 trillion) and Germany ($2.9 trillion).

Agencies contributed to the story

(China Daily, February 23, 2008)

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