4 in 5 Canadians View China Negatively: Poll

March 17, 2021 Updated: March 17, 2021

Nearly four in five Canadians say they do not have a positive view of China, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Forty-seven percent of Canadians have a “very unfavourable” view of China, while 30 percent hold a “mostly unfavourable” view, a new survey (pdf) released by Angus Reid Institute (ARI) found.

Only 14 percent say they view the nation favourably, a 34-point drop compared to 2017, the lowest figure the ARI has recorded since 2005. 

Similarly, very few Canadians believe that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) offers a fair and accurate account of what happened during the COVID-19, the disease the CCP virus causes, outbreak.

Only 9 percent buy into Beijing’s narrative. A vast majority of Canadians—55 percent “strongly disagree” and 26 percent “disagree”—that the Chinese regime has been transparent and honest about the pandemic. 

A majority of Canadians also say Canada should develop closer trade ties with the United States (49 percent) and the European Union (49 percent) instead of China (11 percent). They were also skeptical of allowing Chinese investment in the country’s sensitive industries such as telecommunications and finance, with three-quarters expressing disapproval.

Epoch Times Photo
CSIS director David Vigneault holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, on July 16, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

In a speech to the Centre for International Governance Innovation on Feb. 9, David Vigneault, director of Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said the CCP has been stealing critical technology, including from Canada, particularly in the sectors of biopharma, health, artificial intelligence, aerospace, ocean technology, and quantum computing. 

Communist China is “using all elements of state power to carry out activities that are a direct threat to our national security and sovereignty,” he said. 

Moreover, most Canadians believe that China cannot be trusted in regards to human rights or the rule of law, with 56 percent saying they “strongly agree” and 29 percent “agree.” Alongside that view is three-quarters of Canadians agree that Beijing’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims in China should be called a genocide.

On March 8, independent think tank Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy published a report detailing how the CCP systematically conducted the genocide by collecting the Uyghurs’ biometric data, assigning party cadre teams to monitor them, and subsequently destroying their cultural and religious site, language, and poetry—all central to their identity and life. 

The CCP then criminalized their religious practices, built, and expanded the internment camps and detention facilities where about 1 to 2 million Uyghurs were detained. What follows is forced labour, forced abortions, mass sterilization of Uyghur women, widespread rape, sexual abuse, and forced separation of the Uyghur children from their parents, the report states. 

ARI also noted the vast majority of Canadians (79 percent) want the country to prioritize human rights and rule of law over China’s trade and investment opportunities for Canada.

This translates to over half of Canadians (55 percent) supporting the idea that Canada should boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, while 27 percent still want the country to send athletes there to compete.

Likewise, the case of Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Korvig have put a strain on the Sino-Canadian relationship. 

Both were arbitrarily detained in China in December 2018, just days after Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO, was arrested at the Vancouver airport at the request of the United States, where she is wanted on bank fraud charges related to alleged violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran. 

The two were later charged with espionage and have remained in custody, held on what the federal government and international observers alike have described as bogus charges aimed at putting pressure on Canada. Meng, meanwhile, is under house arrest at one of her mansions in Vancouver as her case is heard in court. 

ARI surveyed 5,004 Canadians adults from Feb. 26, 2021, to March 3, 2021, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.