Americans know little about China. They think Singapore is a Chinese city and Samsung is a Chinese brand. They would be wrong.
A survey released Monday, called "A Study of American Perceptions on China", was conducted by US-based Perspective Resources Inc. (PRI).
Two million US citizens, all 18 years and older with different social and education backgrounds, were asked ten questions about China.
When it comes to China's most recognized symbol, 49 percent said the Great Wall. The Olympics came in second with 36 percent, rice and food received 34 percent of the vote and 32 percent said the dragon.
Other symbols mentioned include pandas, the flag, electronics and pagoda.
When Americans were asked to think about China they mentioned words like "highly populated", "government or communism", "culture or history" and the color red.
The survey said Jackie Chan is the most famous Chinese person followed by Bruce Lee, late chairman Mao Zedong, Confucius, Jet Li, Yao Ming, "Buddha", Lucy Liu, Genghis Khan and Chow Yun Fat.
What are the most popular Chinese dishes? Nearly 60 percent of Americans say it is rice or fried rice. They also mentioned egg rolls, noodles, wonton soup, fortune cookies, egg drop soup and stir fry. Only 25 percent listed the Peking Duck which is Beijng's feature food.
It should be noted, fortune cookies, though popular with Chinese restaurants in the US, are seldom seen in the Chinese mainland.
When it comes to places to visit, Americans think of Beijing, the Great Wall, Hong Kong, Shanghai, "Bird's Nest", Forbidden City, Tibet and Tiananmen Square.
Twenty-two percent of those surveyed also mentioned Singapore which they mistakenly think is a Chinese city.
Chinese brand names are least familiar with Americans who named Samsung, Toyota, Nissan and Nike, which are not Chinese at all.
Forty-two percent said they cannot mention any Chinese brands, however 87 percent said they use products made in China such as clothing, electronics and toys.
Asked about the most important issues in China, 39 percent said civil rights and freedom. Other said population control, pollution, Communism and Capitalism, the economy, labor issues, sweat shops, low quality products , US debt to China and Tibet.
The survey was commissioned by the Blue Ocean Network (BON) International Communications Committee, a non-governmental media organization which aims to promote western understanding about China.
BON Standing Committee Vice Chairman Gu Yifan said, 49 percent of respondents were interested in Chinese history and culture and 53 percent hoped to someday visit China.
The survey's margin of error was within five percent.
Set up in 1973, PRI has clients such as Cable News Network (CNN), General Electric (GE), AT&T, VISA and American Airlines.
BON, a new, independent English-language television and media network about China, goes live on the air in the US in spring 2009.
(Xinhua News Agency September 23, 2008)