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Mainlanders prefer US presidents over Mao: survey

TAIPEI--Two American presidents were among the political figures most favored by people in mainland China, but Mao Zedong — the founder of the People's Republic of China — was among the least popular, according to a recent survey.

Zhou Enlai emerged as the most popular political figure in the survey, earning the approval of 36.13 percent of the 4,697 respondents.

Zhou, a former Chinese premier, was followed by George Washington (35.64 percent), Hu Yaobang (34.68 percent), Deng Xiaoping (30.79 percent) and Abraham Lincoln (23.91 percent).

Mao ranked fourth on the list of least favored politicians, with 41.84 percent of respondents giving him a negative rating.

Adolf Hitler (49.41 percent), Joseph Stalin (46.54 percent), and Kim Jong Il (45.54 percent) were the only political figures with worse images among those surveyed.

According to Li, who conducted the survey on people's political and social views from April 13 to May 13, China's future will be decided by the general public, not the country's few elites.

In another question on which political system respondents identified with, 54.12 percent of those polled said they did not identify with China's, the second highest negative rating behind North Korea's 73.62 percent.

Iran (32.38 percent), Vietnam (11.33 percent) and Pakistan (11.16 percent) also had among the highest negative ratings.

The political systems most favored by the respondents were those of the United States (71.98 percent), Sweden (32.38 percent), the United Kingdom (30.76 percent), Germany (28.81 percent) and Singapore (27.51 percent), according to the survey.

Meanwhile, 80.35 percent of respondents identified corruption as China's top challenge, while 53.40 percent and 51.65 percent cited the people's low level of knowledge and social injustice, respectively, as the next biggest challenges.

The Chinese edition of Voice of America website, which reported Li's findings on Sunday, noted the low percentage of respondents choosing international issues as challenges, including “U.S. suppression” (3.04 percent) and conflicts with neighboring countries (0.53 percent).

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