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Committee of 100 Releases 2017 U.S.-China Public Perceptions Survey
Survey finds that rising levels of distrust could undermine the
U.S.-China relationship, Bridge-building required to ease concerns
(WASHINGTON, May 19, 2017) — A new survey conducted by the Committee of 100 (C100) – a non-profit organization of prominent Chinese American leaders from politics, business, media and entertainment, and academia – underscores that a majority of Americans view cooperation and bridge-building between the two countries as “critical” and recognize the benefits of increased trade and investment, and cultural exchanges. Americans are, however, wary of China’s economic and military intentions.
According to C100 Chairman Frank Wu, the C100’s landmark survey is intended to provide unique, comprehensive, and comparative information to better understand and enhance U.S.-China relations. The report also allows for a comparison of attitude changes over the last decade in both the U.S. and China
“The aim of this survey is to determine American attitudes toward China, and Chinese attitudes toward the United States, in order to explore the most salient issues in U.S.-China relations. Now more than ever, it is crucial to find paths to mutual understanding and stronger bilateral relations. The study illuminates the hopes and fears of Americans and Chinese people for U.S.-China relations, and can be used to foster more fact-based dialogue and decision-making,” said Wu.
The Committee of 100’s Public Perceptions Opinion Survey project began in 1994 and produced reports in 2001, 2005, 2007, 2012, and 2017. The report covered 79 questions showing responses in China and the United States from four target respondent groups: the general public, business leaders, policy experts, and journalists.
- The survey found that favorable views of the other country have declined: 55% of Chinese say they have a favorable impression of the U.S., down from 59% % in 2012, while 48% of Americans have a favorable view of China, down from 48% in 2017.
- Chinese have become less trusting of America: Only 15% of Chinese think China should trust America, down from 36% in 2012.
- However, Americans and Chinese also agree on areas of U.S.-China Collaboration: For the first time, Americans and Chinese are in agreement about the areas in which both countries would benefit from working together: trade, global financial stability, and the environment. In addition, North Korea has proved to be a common area of concern and desired collaboration.
- Chinese Optimism at All Time High: More Chinese than ever (92%) think China is headed on the right track, with a majority believing China will surpass the U.S. as the world’s leading superpower.
Other findings from the survey include:
- Concerns about cybersecurity are on Americans’ minds. Americans cite cybersecurity as the top likely source of conflict between the two countries, along with trade. Concern for the threat of cybersecurity doubled in importance for Americans from 11% in 2012 to 24% in 2017.
- China has serious concerns about the United States’ military presence in Asia. 79% of Chinese see America’s military power as a potential to serious threat. 72% see the disputes over the claims in the South China Sea as a regional issue rather than an international one.
- Environmental concerns are at an all-time high when it comes to individuals. 60% of Americans and 79% of Chinese (the highest percentage yet in the last decade) personally worry about climate change.
- U.S. – Chinese trade relations are a top priority. Over 80% of both Americans and Chinese agree that trade with China is beneficial to the U.S. economy. Both Americans (75%) and Chinese (74%) also agree that products from China benefit American consumers.
- Millennials in the United States driving up support for China. 72% of American millennials value China as the most important partner compared to 64% of the general public.
- Despite these challenges, both American and Chinese citizens want to be invested in each other’s future. 88% of American millennials think positively of the Chinese language being taught in U.S. schools (82% general public)’ and 86% (78% general public) think the increase of Chinese students studying in the U.S. is good for America.
The survey, conducted in English in the U.S. in collaboration with Brunswick Insights, was released during the C100 Annual Conference 2017 in Washington, D.C. on May 19, 2017. The data for the national China survey was drawn from Horizon Dataway’s own continuous self-sponsored and annually released survey on China’s global views, “The World in Chinese Eyes.”
The latest survey covered 79 questions, 53 of which were asked in both the U.S. and China, 11 in the United States only, and 15 in China only. About 80% of the survey questions in this update were repeated from the 2012 survey. This year, the survey was conducted among 3,696 Chinese respondents and 1,019 American respondents between Nov. 18, 2016 – Jan. 9, 2017.
About the Committee of 100
The Committee of 100 is an international, non-partisan leadership organization of prominent Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, and the arts. For over 25 years, the Committee has been committed to a dual mission of promoting the full participation of Chinese Americans in all fields of American life, and encouraging constructive relations between the peoples of the United States and Greater China. www.committee100.org.