Anti-China sentiment in US at ‘historic high’, Pew Research survey finds, amid friction over trade, coronavirus and human rights

Anti-China sentiment in US at ‘historic high’, Pew Research survey finds, amid friction over trade, coronavirus and human rights

  • More than 70 per cent of Americans hold negative views of China, and even more distrust Beijing to ‘do the right thing’
  • Grim view shared across all demographics fuelled by coronavirus, espionage claims and human rights concerns

Americans’ negative views toward China have reached a “new historic high” amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report published by the Pew Research Centre on Thursday.

“Around three-quarters (73 per cent) of Americans have an unfavourable view of China today – the most negative reading in the 15 years that Pew Research Centre has been measuring these views,” wrote the authors of the report, Laura Silver, Kat Devlin and Christine Huang.

“The percentage who say they have a very unfavourable view of China is also at a record high of 42 per cent, having nearly doubled since the spring of 2019, when 23 per cent said the same.”Amid repeated accusations of espionage, consulate closures in Houston and Chengdu, and continued finger pointing in Washington and Beijing over which country deserves more blame for Covid-19, Pew’s survey is the latest piece of evidence in an impossible-to-miss trend: distrust of China, including its senior leadership, is rampant in the United States right now.

According to Pew’s survey, 64 per cent of Americans say China has done a “bad job” dealing with Covid-19. And 78 per cent say the Chinese government deserves the blame for letting the coronavirus spread from the city of Wuhan to the entire world.

The survey found 77 per cent of Americans had “little or no confidence” in Chinese leader Xi Jinping to “do the right thing in world affairs”. That number has grown 27 points since last year, according to Pew.