Poll: Americans sour on China amid pandemic, broader rivalry

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Americans are increasingly hostile to China as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the U.S. and global economies and after three years of Trump administration antagonism toward the country, according to a nationwide poll released on Tuesday.

The poll, conducted last month by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, found that two-thirds of those surveyed, or 66%, had an unfavorable view of China. That’s the most since the center first asked the question 15 years ago and a significant jump of 20 percentage points since President Donald Trump entered the White House in 2017. The results suggest that Americans are receptive to the Trump administration’s broad antagonism toward China, which has increased in recent weeks over criticism of Beijing’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The poll suggests the change is so far not directly linked to the coronavirus outbreak, that the Trump administration’s trade war with China and relentless criticism of its policies may be having that effect. The upward trend in negative views began in 2019, and the survey did not find changing attitudes toward China over the course of March, when the virus outbreak was rapidly progressing.

“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,” the authors said. “Against this backdrop, negative views of China have continued to grow.” – READ MORE

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