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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 1:00 am

China viewed less favorable by Americans: Poll

PAUL WISEMAN | Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Rising tensions over trade have dimmed Americans' opinions of China.

A Pew Research Center poll finds that 60% say they have an unfavorable view of China – up from 47% last year to the highest proportion since Pew started asking the question 14 years ago.

The survey results being released Tuesday found that 24% of Americans regard China as America's top threat for the future, the same percentage that said so of Russia. North Korea (12%) was the only other country to draw double-digit concern.

The Trump administration and Beijing have been clashing for more than a year over allegations that China steals trade secrets, pressures foreign companies to hand over technology and unfairly subsidizes the country's own companies.

President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods and said that Sept. 1, he would tax the $300 billion in Chinese imports he had spared, before annoucing Tuesday he'd delay some of those until Dec. 15. In retaliation, China has imposed tariffs on $110 billion in U.S. products.

Still, the poll finds that only 41% of Americans believe that China's growing economy is a bad thing for the United States, compared with 50% who called it a good thing. Respondents were far more worried about China's rising military power: 81% said it was bad, 11% good.

Half said they had no confidence in President Xi Jinping, the same as last year. In addition to being locked in a trade war with Trump, Xi has overseen a crackdown on dissent in China and a more combative foreign policy in East Asia.

Americans 50 and older were most likely to hold negative views of China (67%, compared with 58% of those ages 30-49 and 49% of those 18-29).

Likewise, 69% of Americans with a four-year college degree expressed disapproval of China, versus 57% of those who didn't have a degree.

Pew surveyed 1,503 adults from May 13 to June 18.