Distrust of Xi’s international intentions reached new heights in all the countries surveyed except Japan and Spain. In the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and several Western European countries, about half of those polled said they had “no confidence” in Xi.
“I think this sentiment will likely persist because of the longer-term trends in China towards increasing repression,” said Jessica Chen Weiss, associate professor of government at Cornell University who studies Chinese foreign policy. “As long as its order of priorities remains in place, it will be difficult for the Chinese Communist Party to really reverse the trends of public opinion abroad.”
The sickness, deaths and disruption attributable to the coronavirus in these international locations have intensified already robust public mistrust of China, the place the virus emerged late final yr, the outcomes from the Pew Research Center’s survey indicated.
“Unfavourable opinion has soared over the past year,” stated the survey on views of China taken this yr in 14 international locations together with Japan, South Korea, Canada and Germany, Italy and different European nations. “Today, a majority in each of the surveyed countries has an unfavorable opinion of China.”
The outcomes illustrate how a lot damaging opinions of China have taken maintain around the globe in recent times. To China’s leaders, such cautious attitudes might current obstacles for the Communist Party’s ambitions of increasing Beijing’s affect. The tide of public mistrust might make cooperation tougher even on points the place nationwide pursuits align.
“Public opinion is a powerful constraint,” stated Natasha Kassam, a former Australian diplomat who’s a analysis fellow on the Lowy Institute in Sydney, the place she research public opinion and international coverage. “We can see in both Australia and the United States, for example, souring public opinion has served as a powerful driver for governments to be particularly vocal” about China.
The rise in disapproving views from China has been most marked in Australia, which has been mired in diplomatic outbreaks with Beijing in recent months.
Australia has protested the detention in China of Cheng Lei, an Australian news anchor working for Chinese state television, and Yang Hengjun, a Chinese-born Australian businessman and writer who is accused of espionage , accusations which, according to his supporters, are unfounded.
The number of Australian respondents who have a negative opinion of China increased by 24 percentage points from a year ago, so that 81% said they viewed China negatively. This was a dramatic change from 2017, when 64% of Australian respondents said they viewed China favorably.
“Until two years ago, the Australian public viewed China as an economic opportunity,” said Australian researcher Ms Kassam. China’s response to the outbreak has only heightened skepticism in Australia, she said.