STEVE INSKEEP, host:
When Americans think of China, many of think of low wages or pollution or political repression. But as the Olympics approach in Beijing, an overwhelming majority of people in China say they are satisfied with their country's direction. That's what a recent survey finds, and that is a lot better than what Americans are saying about the United States.
NPR's Frank Langfitt reports.
FRANK LANGFITT: What a difference an economic boom makes. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found more than 8 in 10 Chinese were satisfied with their nation's direction. Andy Kohut oversaw the poll. He says that level of contentment is extraordinary, and usually he only sees it when the economy of an otherwise poor country just takes off.
Mr. ANDY KOHUT (Pew Research Center): The Chinese are optimistic; they're expecting that things are going to be better because their country is on a roll, so to speak.
LANGFITT: In fact, according to the poll, more Chinese were satisfied than people in 23 other countries Pew surveyed. Kohut said that in the United States, where the economy is in the doldrums, only 23 percent said they were satisfied.
Mr. KOHUT: Americans are troubled about the direction of their country and the Chinese aren't troubled; they're celebrating.
LANGFITT: Of course, Chinese aren't happy about everything. The economic boom has also created huge new challenges. Pollsters interviewed more than 3,000 Chinese face-to-face. Kohut says most listed some big worries.
Mr. KOHUT: Ninety-six percent of them said rising prices are a problem.
LANGFITT: A big majority also cited the growing gap between rich and poor and public corruption. As to the world's view of China, most Chinese thought it was favorable. But Kohut says...
Mr. KOHUT: We know in fact that's just not the case. Opinion of China has been on the decline over the past three or four years.
LANGFITT: The nation's burgeoning optimism extends to the Olympics. Most Chinese think the Games will burnish their nation's image and that Chinese athletes will win the most medals.
Frank Langfitt, NPR News, Washington.
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