90% Chinese netizens disfavor US amid tensions, support strong retaliation against US: GT online survey

By Yang Sheng Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/11 0:28:40 Last Updated: 2020/8/11 17:54:19

Retaliation measures enforced by the Chinese government in response to US provocations are overwhelmingly supported by the public, and increasingly more Chinese people disfavor the US amid the recent spate of unprecedented tensions since the two countries established diplomatic ties in the late 1970s, a survey showed on Monday.

China-US Relations Illustration: GT

The Global Times created on Monday an online survey on its Chinese website and social media networks regarding current China-US relations. The number of participants in the survey has been recorded at 146,196 by Tuesday afternoon. The survey included six questions covering judgments of US intentions to provoke China and the approaches that the country should adopt to retaliate against the US, as well as general thoughts about the US from the perspective of a Chinese.

The survey results show that most Chinese netizens believe that the most recent sanctions implemented by the Trump administration against several Chinese officials due to the national security law for Hong Kong are only just bluffing to serve the US presidential election campaign and almost no one believes such moves are about democracy or freedom.

The US imposed sanctions on 11 officials on Friday, including Carrie Lam, chief executive of the HKSAR; Luo Huining, director of the central government's liaison office in the HKSAR; and Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council. China on Monday retaliated in sanctioning 11 US politicians and heads of US NGOs who were involved in damaging China's national security in Hong Kong.

Illustration: GT


More than 75 percent participants think that such US moves are an act of interference in China's domestic and another 20.3 percent participants believe that the Trump administration is only bluffing China to get itself reelected. Only 2.7 percent web users believe that the US is doing this to support "democracy and freedom of Hong Kong."

Chinese experts said that such results show Chinese people have overwhelmingly not been intimidated by US sanctions and provocations at all, and almost no one believes the US really cares about freedom and democracy in China, as it's all about hegemony and anxieties regarding the failing US strategy to contain China.

Following the questions, the survey asked "The US has frequently put pressure on China in recent times. What does this show about the intentions of the US?"

Illustration: GT


About 45 percent voted for "Anxiety about China's rapid development, trying to suppress further progress by China" and 51.3 percent voted for "A hegemonic mentality with anxieties over the decline of US competitiveness." Only 2.1 percent believed the US has concerns "over democracy and human rights in China."

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Monday that most Chinese people have a very clear understanding of the US policy toward China, and many of them share consensus on judging the US intentions behind a series of hostile provocations.

"Almost no one in China believes the US cares about democracy or human rights in our country, as the US has already proven itself to be 'a trouble maker' who destroys other nations' sovereignty and previously created a series of failed states with the excuse of 'promoting democracy and defending human rights', Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria are all examples," he said.

Such consensus among the Chinese public has also transformed into overwhelming support for the Chinese government to toughly retaliate against US provocations. But such support is based on reasonable and cool-headed thinking regarding China's most fundamental interests, rather than merely guided by nationalism and protectionism, as experts noted that Chinese society is much more mature than the US on viewing the current tensions. 

Photo: Global Times

Rational choice

A question in the survey asked "Do you support China in taking countermeasures against US provocations?" 

Illustration: GT 

More than 64.5 percent participants said they "firmly support it, as it's a matter of national dignity and fundamental interest," and 31 percent said "Yes, as China is able to strike a balance between countering provocations and opening-up."  

Diao Daming, a US studies expert at Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday that "this result has obviously showed that the Chinese government has absolute support from its people, and this is extremely helpful and essential for Chinese policymakers to handle the complex and intense China-US relations."

These two questions have very subtle differences as the second one mentioned opening-up, so this also reflected an existing debate among the Chinese strategist circle - should China toughly retaliate and make the US feel as much as possible, or should China remain calm and retaliate with equivalent measures, to minimize potential impacts to its own opening-up, said the Chinese observers.

Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday that it is a very interesting element for scholars to research, because it shows that many Chinese people are able to maintain reasonable thinking, as China has no intention to escalate the conflict. 

"If we combine these two answers, we can get consensus among the public - firmly support the Chinese government to retaliate against the US with equivalent and appropriate countermeasures," Lü noted.

Li said that many Chinese understand that if China escalates the tension and hits back too hard against the US to make it feel pain, it would be harmful for China's development and opening-up, which is China's long-term fundamental interest. 

"The Chinese people and government will not be used as pawns by the Trump administration to serve its reelection purpose. They know what the Trump administration wants, and they are also prepared for the worst-case scenario," he noted. 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has frequently attacked the Communist Party of China (CPC) on several different occasions, but his attempts are failing in China, as most Chinese web users (96 percent) believe that the Trump administration is trying "to sow discord between the Chinese people and the CPC to destroy the unity of the country," and "help bring about a new cold war against China, and to give the US' crackdown on China an 'anti-Communist' ideological label."

Li said this also shows that the majority of Chinese people understand that a powerful and strong ruling party is a condition for China to become developed and prosperous, so the US' attempt to separate the CPC from the Chinese people is actually against the demands of the Chinese people in seeking better lives.

"The solid support toward the CPC among the Chinese populace is unshakeable despite the US' pointless and useless accusations," he noted.

US unfavorable

The last question in the survey was "Do you like the US?" Very few people voted for "Yes" (2.9 percent), and 35.9 percent voted "Never liked it."





More than 30 percent voted "Used to, but less so now" while 27 percent voted "Fond of its advanced science and technology, as well as its rule of law, but not its policies against China"

Li said with the failed handling of COVID-19 and its hostile policies against China, the US' image among Chinese is falling dramatically. "Especially for those people who used to like it and yearn for the US, they are the main victims of the Trump administration's policy to harm people-to-people exchanges between the two nations."

The bankruptcy of US soft power among the Chinese is probably the biggest failure of the US' policy toward China, said experts.


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