China’s favorability rating among Americans drops to record low
03/04/2021 // Nolan Barton // Views

A new Gallup poll shows that China's favorability rating among Americans dropped to a record low of 20 percent, a 13-percentage point drop from last year.

China is known around the country for perpetuating genocide against the Uyghurs and for targeting the United States with information and economic warfare so the low rating didn't exactly come as a surprise.

Last year's 33 percent favorability rating was tied with the 1997 and 2000 readings as the second-lowest on record dating back to 1979. The third lowest was the 34 percent favorability rating in August 1989 following the Chinese government's crackdown on protestors in Tiananmen Square.

The highest recorded favorability rating of China was 72 percent, which came in the months before the Tiananmen Square incident. Favorability of China has only been at the majority level two other times – in 1979 at 64 percent and 2018 at 53 percent.

Last year's Gallup poll was held from Feb. 3 to 18, just after the coronavirus first spread in China but before it became a worldwide pandemic. It marked an eight-point dip from 2019.

Partisan ratings of China have declined from last year. This year's poll showed that only 10 percent of Republicans, 22 percent of independents and 27 percent of Democrats have a favorable opinion of China. The numbers marked a downward shift of 13, 17 and eight points, respectively.

The latest ratings were recorded mostly after President Joe Biden announced on Feb. 7 that he is prepared to compete with China, but that his approach would be different from his predecessor's. 


Gallup poll coincides with reports of increased hate crimes against Asian Americans

The findings coincide with the reports of increased hate crimes against Asian Americans across the country. Hate-fueled attacks on Asian Americans spiked across major U.S. cities last year. The alarming trend has continued into this year, experts say.

According to reports, there were 122 incidents of anti-Asian American hate crimes in 16 of the country's most populous cities in 2020 – an increase of almost 150 percent over the previous year. (Related: New Yorkers protest ‘white supremacy' over rising trend of black-on-Asian violence.)

Biden hopes to resolve the issue by signing a memorandum condemning the surge of anti-Asian racism in the country during the coronavirus pandemic. He is also directing the Department of Justice to make more concerted efforts to address hate crimes and harassment against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

"During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, inflammatory and xenophobic rhetoric has put Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) persons, families, communities and businesses at risk," the memorandum said. The memorandum was part of a series of executive orders regarding racial equity and civil rights signed by Biden.

"The federal government must recognize that it has played a role in furthering these xenophobic sentiments through the actions of political leaders, including references to the COVID-19 pandemic by the geographic location of its origin," the memorandum said. "Such statements have stoked unfounded fears and perpetuated stigma about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and have contributed to increasing rates of bullying, harassment and hate crimes against AAPI persons."

According to the memorandum, the pandemic response from federal health authorities should demonstrate "cultural competency, language access, and sensitivity towards AAPIs."

Russia's favorability rating drops to record low, Palestinian Authority's rises to record high

The Gallup poll provides an annual update on Americans' views of 18 major world countries. Americans gave the most favorable views on traditional allies, such as Canada and Great Britain, and the least favorable opinions on nations often at odds with the U.S. on the global stage, such as Iran and North Korea.

Aside from China, there were noticeable changes in the favorability opinions of two other nations. The overall favorability rating of Russia has dropped six points to a new low of 22 percent while that of the Palestinian Authority rose to a new high of 30 percent.

The poll showed that 25 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 16 percent of Democrats have favorable views of Russia. Since last year, Russia's image has declined by 12 points among independents (from 36 percent) while the views of Republicans and Democrats were unchanged. Some linked the decline to a widespread cyber-attack in the U.S. attributed to Russia by the U.S. intelligence community.

Meanwhile, Democrats (38 percent) were twice as likely as Republicans (19 percent) to view the Palestinian Authority favorably while 30 percent of independents held a favorable opinion of the Palestinian governing body. Most of the increase in the past year has come from Republicans, only nine percent of whom viewed the Palestinian Authority favorably last year.

Follow for more on how the current administration is looking to deal with China.

Sources include:

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