Americans of both major parties are expressing a rising level of suspicion and hostility toward China and say they now see Beijing as a clear security threat, according to a new survey Tuesday from the Pew Research Center.
“Today, 60% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of China, up from 47% in 2018 and at the highest level since Pew Research Center began asking the question,” the organization said in releasing the results. The poll was conducted from May 13 to June 18, and surveyed 1,503 adults.
It comes at a time of rising clashes between Beijing and Washington over trade, control of the South China Sea and other hot-button issues.
Republicans and right-leaning independents were far more negative toward China than Democrats and left-leaning independents, the Pew poll found.
With Washington and Beijing in the midst of a nasty trade war, just 2% of Americans polled say that ties between the U.S. and China are “very good.” Nearly half of Republicans see current economic ties as good, but only a third of Democrats feel the same way.
Americans also feel threatened by China as a military power. The Pew survey found that twice as many people in the U.S. believe China to be the nation’s “greatest future threat,” compared to a decade ago. By a 50% to 37% margin, Americans say they do not trust Chinese President Xi Jinping to “do the right thing in world affairs.”
The research showed that despite the rising suspicions, a bare majority of Americans still welcome China’s economic success and think it is good for the U.S. economy as well. But a large majority also expressed concern about Beijing’s growing military might, with 8 in 10 Americans (81%) saying that a strong military in China is a threat to the U.S.
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