Eight-in-ten Americans detest China now as recent poll witnesses uptick in anti-Beijing feelings

A recent poll revealed that the number of US citizens who view China as an enemy has surged, while an overwhelming majority of Americans hold unfavourable views of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-ruled nation as the tensions between Washington and Beijing escalated in recent years.

According to a survey report released by Washington-based nonpartisan think tank Pew Research Centre on May 1, marking the highest level in five years, about 81 percent of Americans have unfavourable views of China, including 43 percent holding very unfavourable views, and in contrast, only 16 percent view China favourably.

The poll result shows about eight-in-ten Americans have reported an unfavourable view of China, when the Chinese President Xi Jinping has received similarly negative ratings.

When many Americans (about 71 percent) still agree that Beijing’s influence in the world has been getting stronger in recent years, there have been concerns about how the CCP regime interacts with other nations, as 61 percent of US citizens are at least somewhat concerned about China’s territorial disputes with neighbouring countries, as per the survey report.

 When it comes to China’s relationship with the United States, Americans offered mostly negative assessments.

A substantial share consider China an enemy of the US, and most think limiting Beijing’s power and influence should be a top foreign policy priority for the United States, while about two-thirds of Americans think China is having a great deal or fair amount of negative influence on the US economy, as per the report.

According to the report, most Americans — about 50 percent — labelled China a competitor, while about 42 percent of US citizens labelled the country as enemy. Only six percent of Americans see Beijing as a partner.

This is fewer than the 50 percent who described China as a competitor but a slight increase from the 38 percent of Americans who labelled China as an enemy last year, and it is also the largest share who have described the Asian giant as an enemy since we began asking the question, according to the think tank.

The survey report explains that most of the Americans are likewise critical of China’s impact on the US economy, describing its influence as large and negative. 

Roughly half of Americans think limiting China’s power and influence should be a top US foreign policy priority, and another 42 percent think this should be given some priority, as per the poll report.

The Pew Research Centre survey, which was conducted during April 1-7 this year among 3,600 US adults, found that Republicans are more wary of China than Democrats.

Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are about twice as likely as Democrats and Democratic leaners to hold a very unfavourable view of China and to consider the country an enemy of the US, and they are also more likely to say that China has recently become more influential, according to the survey.

As per the survey, Republicans also have wider ideological differences within their party, and conservative Republicans stand out on many measures:

Conservative Republicans are 25 percentage points more likely than moderate and liberal Republicans to express a very unfavourable view of China (68 percent  vs. 43 percent), while there is no difference between liberal Democrats and moderate and conservative Democrats on this question, the survey report read.

Conservative Republicans are also 31 points more likely than moderate and liberal Republicans to see China as an enemy of the US, while no ideological difference is present among Democrats, the report added.

While 83 percent of conservative Republicans say China’s influence in the world has been getting stronger in recent years, 68 percent of moderate and liberal Republicans say the same, and the latter is similar to the shares of moderate and conservative Democrats (67 percent) and liberal Democrats (69 percent) who hold this view, according to the survey report.

The survey found that older Americans are generally more critical of China, and they also perceive more growth in Beijing’s international influence.

As per the poll report, a 61 percent majority of adults aged 65 and older have a very unfavourable view of China, compared with 27 percent of adults under 30. 

Adults aged 65 and older are also more than twice as likely as those ages 18 to 29 to see China as an enemy of the US, and for their part, younger adults are more likely than older ones to label Beijing as a competitor and as a partner, the report added.

Roughly three-quarters of American adults aged 65 and older say China’s influence has been getting stronger in recent years, while about two-thirds of adults under 30 say the same, according to the poll report.

Americans with a sour view of the US economy have more critical opinions of China, as those who say the current US economic situation is bad are more likely to hold an unfavourable opinion of China and to say China has a great deal or fair amount of negative influence on the US economy, and they are also more likely to see China as an enemy when compared with those who see the economy positively, as per the survey.

As with the sense that Beijing’s influence has recently grown stronger, the desire to limit China is more prominent among older Americans and Republicans, as 49 percent of Americans gave top priority to limiting the power and influence of China.

While covering the part “China’s economic influence on the US”, the think tank found that a large majority of Americans — about 82 percent — think Beijing has at least a fair amount of influence on economic conditions in the United States, including 28 percent who say it has a great deal of influence.

The poll revealed that roughly two-thirds of Americans think China has a great deal or a fair amount of negative influence on US economic conditions.

Last year, a similar survey conducted by Chicago-based international affairs think tank Chicago Council on Global Affairs found that Americans feel more threat from China now than in the past three decades.

A record level of Americans — 58 percent — view China’s development as a world power as a critical threat to the vital interest of the US, and they are concerned about the rise of the CCP-ruled Asian nation more than at any point since the end of the Cold War, according to the survey.

The survey, which was conducted in September last year, also found that a plurality of Americans — about 46 percent — say that the leaders of the United States are not paying enough attention to the issue of US competition with China.








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