US increasingly negatively perceives China amid coronavirus outbreak

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, his approach to U.S.-Chinese relations has been marked by increased pressure from tariffs and a trade war, and the pandemic has made it possible for both sides to openly blame each other for developing the disease.

In March, the Pew Research Center conducted regular polls among Americans, according to which it became clear that approximately two-thirds of US residents negatively perceive China and its President Xi Jinping.

Republicans are more wary of China than Democrats. Nearly three-quarters of the Republicans, 7 out of 10, remain unfavorable to China. The same opinion is held by 6 out of 10 Democrats.

China is worried when it comes to cybersecurity and economic issues such as job loss in China and trade imbalances. Republicans (90%) are more willing than Democrats (80%) to call the United States, and not China, the leading military power in the world. In addition, 66% of Republicans and 27% of Democrats call the United States, and not China, a leading economic power. Nevertheless, this year, negative views on China intensified among the Democrats.

The impact of China on the environment is the only problem that Democrats are more likely to perceive as a serious problem: Democrats’ concern on this issue has grown by 14 pp since 2018. However, both parties are equally concerned about tensions between mainland China and Hong Kong.

The survey was conducted as the outbreak of coronavirus spread throughout the United States, with the number of cases and deaths increasing rapidly in several states. And although the way China quickly and effectively dealt with the outbreak struck an impression on some Americans, the negative sentiment remained unchanged, given the worsening illness in the United States.

Views on China remained just as negative when comparing the opinions of those surveyed before and after March 12, when the NBA postponed the remainder of the season indefinitely and actor Tom Hanks announced a positive result for the COVID-19 test.

About two-thirds of those with higher education, and the same number of those without higher education, have a negative attitude towards China.

Older Americans 50 years of age or older are more likely than people between 18 and 29 years old to remain unfavorable to China. However, in 2020, more than half of young Americans have an unfavorable opinion about this country.

In addition, 71% of Americans say they are not sure that Xi will be able to make the right decision when it comes to issues at the international level. 22% are confident in the Chinese leader, 15 pp less than last year.

About 9 out of 10 adult Americans see a threat in the power and influence of China, 62% believe that this is a serious threat. The proportion of those who adhere to such a mood has grown by 14 pp since 2018. Almost 7 out of 10 people aged 50 and over, as well as half of the people aged 18-29, consider China’s power and influence to be the main threat.

61% say that the environmental impact of China’s actions is a very serious problem for the United States, 10 pp more than when this question was asked in 2018.

Also, Americans are concerned about cyber attacks from China. 57% say this is a very serious problem for the United States. Since 2012, when this question was first asked, the number of those who hold this opinion has grown by 7 percentage points.

57% say that China’s human rights policy is no less serious, 8 pp more than in 2018.

52% of Americans are worried about the loss of US jobs in China. However, in 2012, 71% of respondents maintained this attitude. In addition, 49% of Americans surveyed are worried about the US trade deficit with China – a 12 pp decline since 2012.

As the US closes its market to Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, 47% are concerned about China’s growing technological power.

Only 3 out of 10 respondents take seriously the problem of tensions between mainland China and Hong Kong.

61% of people aged 50 and over, as well as 32% of people aged 18-29, consider China’s growing military power a very serious problem.

38% of Americans under 30 and 26% of older Americans are ready to call China the leading economic power in the world.

8 out of 10 Americans agree that the United States is the leading military power in the world, 11 pp more than when the question was asked for the last time in 2016.

Regardless of whether they consider the United States a leading economic or military power, today almost all Americans (91%) believe that the future in which the United States leads is better than the future, in which China will be the leader (4%).

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