U.S view on China hit historic low . . .
According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center, U.S. public opinion on China has hit a historic low amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sixty-six per cent of those surveyed in March had an unfavourable view of China, the highest rate since PEW began tracking such views in 2005, and up nearly 20 per cent since the start of the Trump Administration in 2017. The survey also shows that 90 per cent of Americans see growing Chinese influence as a threat, with 62 per cent of those believing it is a “major threat.” Negative views have climbed within both Republican and Democratic camps, but Republicans are roughly 10 per cent more wary of China than Democrats.
China public opinion toward the U.S. also increasingly negative . . .
Meanwhile, a recent survey conducted by the Eurasia Group Foundation (EGF) finds that Chinese attitudes toward the U.S. political system and democracy have also soured. The poll, conducted in February and March, indicates that 28 per cent of Chinese respondents have an unfavourable view of the U.S, up from 17 per cent last year. Both the EGF and PEW surveys show that unfavourable views started to climb in 2019 amidst disputes over trade, cybersecurity, and the Hong Kong extradition bill. Differing interpretations of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent economic impact could increase the intensity of last year’s bumpy ride in U.S.-China relations.
Challenges ahead . . .
The findings of the two surveys reflect a deteriorating relationship between the world’s two largest economies amid a global health crisis. The increasing narrative of a Chinese threat has emerged in the U.S. presidential campaigns of candidates in both parties, and things are getting more heated leading up to the election in November. Canada will need to carefully balance the decoupling trend between its two largest trading partners, especially when caught in the middle on topics related to trade, 5G, and the current global health crisis. A “China strategy” centred on Canadian interests is urgently needed as the “China question” will likely grow in importance in future elections on this side of the border as well.
- The Diplomat: Survey: Chinese report less favorable views of US democracy
- NRP News: Biden and Trump battle over who is 'weak on China'
- The Pew Research Center: U.S. views of China increasingly negative amid coronavirus outbreak