World / US and Canada

Most Americans view China as partner: survey

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco ( Updated: 2016-04-14 11:16

Two in three Americans say China is a very important partner.

So says the 2016 US-China Public Perceptions Snapshot Survey by Brunswick Insight, done on behalf o­­f the Committee of 100 early last month.

The online survey of 1,000 respondents and 200 more Chinese Americans nationwide conducted between March 1 and 10 also found that the positive views of China as a partner to the US are at an all-time high of 63 percent since the question was first asked in 2007.

In 2007 the figure was at 55 percent and by 2012 had risen to 61 percent.

Also at an all-time high are favorable views of China by the general public in the US - 57 percent say they have a favorable impression compared with 52 percent in 2007 and 55 percent in 2012.

The Committee of 100's opinion survey project began in 1994 and has produced four surveys - in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2012 - with the aim of determining American attitudes toward China and identifying the most salient domestic issues in US-China relations.

The survey findings are expected to provide a window into the American public's opinions of China and help foster more fact-based discussions.

"At a time when China is politically, economically, and socially ascendant, it is more crucial than ever to find paths to mutual understanding and stronger bilateral relations," said the survey report released by the Committee of 100 on Wednesday.

The report noted that distrust between the two countries was rising and threatening to undermine bilateral relations, as 75 percent of the respondents called China "a serious or potential economic threat" and 77 percent called China "a serious or potential military threat".

Their concerns are mainly over cybersecurity, Chinese investment in the US and discrimination against Chinese-American professionals, according to the survey.

This year's survey found that cybersecurity is as significant of a concern as job loss and the trade deficit when Americans think of China, but blame is equally placed on both governments in terms of alleged hacker attacks.

While cyber security is predicted to be the biggest source of conflict, the analysts of the survey suggest that the US presence in Asia is also of intensifying concern.

When it comes to Chinese investment in the US, nearly 70 percent of Americans say the US should encourage Chinese investment, but nearly 48 percent believe that these deals are politically motivated and designed to increase China's influence over the US.

In the film industry, for instance, 42 percent of the respondents have a negative impression of Chinese investment in Hollywood and 25 percent express worry about content control when Chinese investors are involved.

"The American understanding of the US-China relationship is being undermined by distrust and miscommunication," Committee of 100 spokesman Frank Wu said in a statement. "These findings clearly show that there has never been a more important time for the C-100 to promote cross-cultural understanding."

The findings will be further discussed at the committee's upcoming annual meeting on April 16 in Beverly Hills to ensure the topics are grounded in sound data and to encourage a fact-driven conversation.

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