Majority of Americans Consider China's Military a Problem, Want Better Relations With Taiwan: Survey

Majority of Americans Consider China's Military a Problem, Want Better Relations With Taiwan: Survey
China's Peoples' Liberation Army soldiers march at the Ngong Shuen Chau Barracks in Hong Kong on July 1, 2013. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)
Andrew Thornebrooke

Most Americans consider China’s military to be a serious problem for the United States and believe that the nation should continue relations with Taiwan regardless of China’s objections, according to a new poll.

Some 86 percent of Americans said that they consider China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), to be a problem, with 50 percent saying it is a “very serious” problem and 36 percent saying it is a “somewhat serious” problem, per the results of a new poll by the Pew Research Center.

The survey polled more than 5,000 Americans, weighted for demography, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.7 percentage points.

The results demonstrated a broad belief among U.S. adults that China, and many trends related to the communist regime, are a serious problem for the United States.

In addition to the PLA, the issues that a majority of Americans found to be “somewhat serious” or “very serious” included China’s partnership with Russia (87 percent), tensions between China and Taiwan (82 percent), economic competition with China (82 percent), China’s human rights policies (80 percent), and communist leader Xi Jinping assuming a third term in power (71 percent).

Perceptions that the Chinese regime poses serious problems have grown in recent years, according to Pew.

In 2020, for example, 28 percent of Americans believed that China-Taiwan tensions were a “very serious” problem. That number has now grown to 43 percent.

There was also a sharp uptick in this perception just within the last seven months, perhaps owing to increased Chinese military aggression following the visit of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to Taiwan in August.

Notably, and despite Beijing’s ire, more than half of those surveyed believe that the United States should continue to foster relations with Taiwan, even if doing so worsens relations with China’s communist regime.

Of those surveyed, 54 percent said that the United States should continue to send high-level politicians to Taiwan, even if it harms relations with China.

Though there was a consensus that communist China and its military presented a problem to the nations of the world, there was a partisan divide among respondents on every issue except China’s human rights policies.

Republicans and independents leaning Republican are much more likely than Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents to consider China-related issues as very serious problems: 27 percent more regarding the PLA, 26 percent more for economic competition, and 14 percent more for Xi’s third term.

Andrew Thornebrooke is a national security correspondent for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.