Research

Chinese perceptions of the US

By: Danielle Godfarb, Mercedes Fogarassy, Shaelyn Laurie

As competition steepens between the world’s two greatest superpowers and with China-US tensions heightened, the Carter Center and RIWI have launched the US-China Perception Monitor. This is one of the first regularized opinion surveys assessing Chinese public opinion of the United States. While ample surveys examine American attitudes towards China, representative surveys of Chinese attitudes towards the US are rare.

The results of this representative survey of the Chinese Web-using population run counter to common wisdom. While a recent typical online poll shows that almost all Chinese hold a negative view of the US, the results of this survey are much less categorical, and find that about 6 of 10 Chinese have an unfavourable view of the US. Moreover, almost 8 of 10 Chinese respondents think others hold a positive view of China. This contrasts with various polls on how China is perceived by other countries, which are negative and show considerable recent deterioration in China’s global image.

It is critical for US policymakers to have data on representative sentiment in China, especially at this low point in China-US relations, and when conducting fieldwork in mainland China continues to be extremely difficult, especially with COVID-related restrictions.

RIWI fielded the first wave of this survey in September 2021 and heard from 3,000+ respondents across all regions of China. The survey took less than a week to complete.

For more on this study, see here or contact Mercedes Fogarassy at RIWI.