Record Number of Americans Hold Negative Views of Beijing Amid Pandemic, Poll Shows

April 21, 2020 Updated: April 21, 2020

A growing number of Americans hold a negative view of the Chinese regime, as the pandemic takes its toll on the United States, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

Two-thirds of respondents to a March poll said they had a negative opinion of Beijing—the highest percentage recorded since the center first began asking the question in 2005.

About nine in 10 Americans said they see the regime’s power and influence as a threat—including 62 percent who said they consider it a “major” threat, the survey found. Respondents were asked whether they considered China no threat, a minor threat, or a major threat.

The results, based on a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted between March 3 and March 29, reflect a marked shift in attitudes toward the regime since President Donald Trump was inaugurated and took a harder stance with Beijing on issues including trade and human rights.

The poll was conducted as the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreak was worsening across the United States and officials call for the Chinese regime to be held accountable for its initial coverup of the outbreak in China, causing the virus to spread around the world.

About 70 percent of respondents said they had no confidence in Chinese leader Xi Jinping to do the right thing when it comes to world affairs—another high since the center first asked the question.

China’s effect on the global environment and its cyberattacks ranked as the top two concerns among respondents, with 91 percent and 87 percent respectively viewing those issues as a “somewhat serious” or “very serious” problem. The regime’s human rights policies were also a concern for 82 percent of respondents, and 57 percent flagged it as a “very serious” problem.

The negative impressions of the regime cut across party lines, though generally, a higher proportion of Republicans than Democrats held unfavorable views of Beijing.

In another recent poll, Americans reported bipartisan distrust of Beijing.

Harris Poll survey conducted from March 14 to April 5 showed that 77 percent of Americans blame the CCP for the spread of the virus.

That belief was echoed across the political spectrum, as 67 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of independents, and 90 percent of Republicans think the Chinese regime was responsible for the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has stepped up calls for transparency from Beijing, and has begun an investigation into the origins of the outbreak, including whether it came from a lab in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

A range of lawsuits, including one from the state of Missouri, have also been filed in U.S. courts against the regime to demand compensation for economic loss suffered as a result of the pandemic.

Emel Akan contributed to this report. 

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