Dec 31, 2019, 2:17 PM
Journalist ID: 2374
News Code: 83615071
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Survey sees US unfavorable

Tehran, Dec 31, Global Times/IRNA - Ups and downs in China-US relations continued to grip Chinese public opinion through 2019. While people were visibly more divided in their stance on whether China's surrounding environment is conducive to the nation's peaceful rise, the overall mind-set of Chinese people has become rational and diversified.

The latest poll conducted by the Global Times showed a large percentage of Chinese people attached significance to China-US relations in 2019, and more than half of the responders said they were predominantly impressed by US suppression on Huawei, NBA manager Daryl Morey's controversial comments on Hong Kong, and the passing of the Hong Kong-related act by Washington.

China-US ties are being considered as the most influential bilateral relationships in China for 14 consecutive years. About 87 percent of people surveyed believe the ties have been particularly intense in 2019. Meanwhile, 86.6 percent think the US has made obvious moves to thwart China's development while 82 percent consider US bullying in trade is immoral. 

A total of 2,286 valid questionnaires were collected, covering a majority of the Chinese provinces and municipalities. 

Over the past year, the world's two largest economies saw more confrontations, and at the heart of the ongoing trade war, as the poll revealed, is the supremacy of high-tech firms, which will directly affect the country's destiny, Li Haidong, professor at Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

While China-US high-tech competition grew fierce in 2019, the race for global dominance is laded with economic restructuring and shifting supply chain. 

"The US has been using information and technology power as new weapon to eliminate China's new driving force in the rising global competitiveness," Li said. "This is obvious," 

In addition to curbing Huawei's participation in 5G roll-out at global stage, the analyst also noted that the detention of Meng Wanzhou, the company's chief financial officer, came as a severe blow to Chinese people as they saw blatant ruthless tactics in geopolitical battle, without taking humanity into account.

Besides Huawei, the US has also aimed to battle China in cutting-edge technologies such as drones, artificial intelligence, among others, by adding more companies such as Hikvision and Dahua into its Entity List. 

Projecting China as a strategic competitor, the US has been taking a hysterical attitude toward China by severely interfering in the country's internal affairs. Washington has come up with legislatures related to Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, and the island of Taiwan. 

Senior politicians, including Nancy Pelosi, and Marco Rubio, have been lobbying with major US allies, pushing other countries to form a new anti-China alliance. All these moves over the past year seriously violated the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiqué, thus dampening the mutual trust between the two countries.

Mind-set 'rational, diverse'

In spite of growing confrontation between China and the US on economic and geopolitical front, over 40 percent of people surveyed hold favorable views on American films, TV series and animations, and most of the interviewees are neutral in their attitude toward American people, universities, and research institutions, as well as American products such as Apple and Microsoft. 

"This also shows that Chinese people's understanding of America is diversified, multi-layered instead of having one voice," Li said, noting that China and the US have been interacting in not only economic and political fronts but also cultural as well as people-to-people aspects. But, in the last three years, some US politicians have been striving to incite hatred toward China in American society by demonizing China. 

More Chinese people hold a clear and rational view on such biased and anti-China opinions, which that directly reflected on the poll showing the majority of Chinese people are very unsatisfied with US politicians, military, and media, as those three are considered as major causes of this heightening tension and divergences.  

When it comes to the most hate-filled aspect of America, about 70 percent of the Chinese people chose "US media," and about half expressed their dislike toward the Trump administration and US troops.

To look into the future of the China-US ties, the majority still hold a cautious attitude, saying that turbulences would occur and frictions between the two countries are unavoidable. However, fewer people think conflicts between China and the US on economic and technology sides would translate into military conflicts, and the relationship between the two countries would break down.

"On one side, Chinese public takes more rational and peaceful approach toward international public opinion, on the other, we'll fight firmly against malicious rumors," Zhang Yiwu, a professor at Peking University, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

It's not one-size-fit-all attitude toward the outside world, and we're always seeking to find a better way and the balance in public opinion, he noted. 

China and the world 

The poll also showed that 74.8 percent of people surveyed valued the relations between China and Russia, far exceeding China-Japan relations, which was ranked in the second place. 

Chinese people also attach importance to relations between China and Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. China-India ties were ranked fourth listed among the most cited foreign relations.  

It's worth noting that views are divided on whether China's surrounding environment is favorable for the country's peaceful development. 

"The overall surrounding environment is stable and controllable. Despite the desire of some extraterritorial powers to stir up the situation, overall differences could be contained," Liu Feng, director of a research center on the Philippines under Hainan Normal University, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

However, with rapidly changing China-US relations, some of US allies and neighboring countries with China are likely to shift their attitude from "not taking sides" to "having to take sides", Liu told the Global Times on Thursday, noting that some countries may make strategic miscalculation, adding new uncertainties to China's neighboring environment. 

In addition to intensified China-US relations, nearly 55 percent of the interviewees see China-Australia relations become more stressful in 2019.

A Chinese soldier teaches his Indian peers how to pick up food with chopsticks during the dinner, as China-India relationship is recovering. Photo:

Over the past year, China has seen improving relations with Southeast Asian countries, as it has not engaged in South China Sea disputes, instead, it has carried out negotiations on marine cooperation, making significant progress in Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership talks, Dai Fan, deputy dean of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Guangzhou-based Jinan University, told the Global Times. 

"US has not put much attention to Southeast Asian region in 2019, which has become an important external factor to ensure regional stability in South China Sea," Dai said. 

The importance of relations between China and Southeast Asian countries has also reached a record-high level in the domestic public opinion, as the poll showed. While the importance of China-Pakistan slightly declined compared to 2018, the significance of China-South Korea ties has weakened for a consecutive year.  

China-US relations have dominated the top position in the list of bilateral relations that have the greatest impact on China. 

"Whether Chinese people like or dislike the US, the country is the most crucial external factor for China to realize its peaceful rise," Yang Xiyu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing, told the Global Times. 

Over the past 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, every big change in bilateral relations simultaneously affects the overall situation of China's domestic and international affairs, he noted. 

China's solutions 

With the rise of China as a global economic powerhouse, about 70 percent of people surveyed think the international image of China has improved, but some people also blamed corrupted officials and disrespect toward rule-based system as well as disruption of trade order for the country's deteriorating image. 

"Such public sentiment is partially in line with the situation, showing that Belt and Road countries and emerging economies granted favorable evaluation to China, while Western countries hold more negative views due to confrontations," Zhang Yiwu said. "Overall, the image of China at global stage is positive."

When some Western countries highlight China as a new threat to the world, nearly half of people surveyed consider that people should treat this kind of situation in different ways, including rebuking hostile accusation or give an explanation to solve misunderstandings. 

However, on the matter of China's sovereignty, more people adopted a unified stance. For instance, when some global fashion brands marked Hong Kong and Macao as places not belonging to Chinese territory, over 60 percent of people said they won't consider buying any of their products due to their meddling with China's sovereignty. 

While China is growing to compete with the US economically, more and more Chinese people value Chinese culture, and nearly 90 percent said they are proud of it, reflecting consolidated confidence in Chinese path, theory, system, and culture.


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