U.S. Views of China Increasingly Negative Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

U.S. Views of China Increasingly Negative Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

  • Republicans more negative than Democrats toward China, though unfavorable ratings have climbed among both parties

Since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, his approach to U.S.-China relations has included increased pressure via tariffs and trade war rhetoric, and now, with the onset of an unprecedented pandemic, the stage has been set for both sides to cast aspersions on the other. Against this backdrop, negative views of China have continued to grow, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of Americans conducted in March. Roughly two-thirds now say they have an unfavorable view of China, the most negative rating for the country since the Center began asking the question in 2005, and up nearly 20 percentage points since the start of the Trump administration. Positive views of China’s leader, President Xi Jinping, are also at historically low levels.

Economic factors, such as job losses to China and the trade deficit, remain key concerns for the American public. But other issues – including Chinese human rights policies and environmental degradation – also worry Americans. Many of these issues play a role in how the public views China more broadly: Those who see the China-related topics included in the study as a serious problem generally have less favorable views of China overall.