China poll shows 74 percent of Brits negative on Beijing as coronavirus tensions surge
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Pew Research Centre, a US-based facility, surveyed 14 countries on their views on China. It revealed the UK, along with other leading western countries, have seen negative views of Beijing surge to their highest levels since research began in 2002. It follows the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which began in Wuhan, China, along with a series of controversial actions from Xi Jinping’s government.
Pew Research Centre surveyed 14,276 adults from countries including the UK, the US, Australia, Japan and South Korea among other European powers.
The polling took place over telephone between June and August, with the findings being published on Tuesday and showing all 14 countries now had predominantly negative views towards China.
According to the survey, 74 percent of Brits reported negative views towards China, with only 22 percent expressing positive thoughts.
In contrast, 2002 saw the UK overwhelmingly in favour of China, with 65 percent expressing positive views at the time compared to 16 percent holding negative perceptions.
Countries which have seen the most steep jump in anti-China sentiments include Australia, Sweden and Japan, who all reported over 80 percent of people with negative views.
Japan has seen the widest gulf between positive and negative views of China, with a huge 86 percent on respondents holding negative views compared to just 9 percent who were positive.
Australia, a close trade partner of China, also saw a staggering gap in support, with 81 percent of respondents leaning negative to 15 percent positive.
Sweden, historically marginally negative towards China, has leapt in anti-Beijing views this year with 85 percent negative to 14 percent positive.
The main reason for the plummeting support is because most countries believe China handled the coronavirus pandemic poorly.
On average, 61 percent of the 14 countries surveyed believe China did a bad job containing the outbreak.
Only the US performed worse than China in the eyes of the countries surveyed, with a huge 84 percent of respondents saying America bungled its response to the pandemic.
The pandemic has led to Mr Xi’s standing in the eyes of the world to drop as well, with an average of 78 percent of those surveyed saying they have no confidence in the Chinese Communist Party leader.
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This year has seen a massive deterioration in relations between the UK and China over a variety of foreign policy issues.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Minister Dominic Raab were outraged by China’s security law on Hong Kong, which allowed Beijing to arrest the city’s residents for “subversion” and “succession”.
In response, the UK Government offered three million Hong Kong nationals immigration to Britain, which incensed Beijing.
The UK has also called for all Huawei telecoms technology to be removed from Britain’s 5G network by 2027, after a GCHQ report claimed the Chinese firm was a “high-risk vendor” and posed dangers to national security.
The research also follows Mr Xi taking to the United Nations to call for more unity amid rising anti-China sentiment.
In a reference to the US and the UK’s growing opposition to Beijing, Mr Xi said: “China is the largest developing country in the world, a country that is committed to peaceful, open, cooperative and common development.
“We will never seek hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence.
“We have no intention to fight either a Cold War or a hot war with any country.”
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