Western attitudes to China are hardening

Joel Rogers de WaalAcademic Director, YouGov
August 02, 2020, 2:27 PM UTC

YouGov polling in four Western countries suggests public opinion is tracking political rhetoric.

New YouGov research commissioned by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change shows that a majority of people in Britain, the US and France and a plurality in Germany actively now see the Chinese government as a force for bad in the world, and say their opinion has worsened through the pandemic. This includes 60% in Britain, 54% in the US, 55% in France and 46% in Germany.

Across the four samples, the Chinese government is consistently seen as the most responsible for the severity of the pandemic, while there is extremely low trust in both the Chinese and US governments to tell the truth about the Coronavirus pandemic.



Many respondents showed mixed feelings about whether China is friendly or hostile to the West, but few think it is generally friendly. There is support for greater cooperation on scientific research and, to a lesser degree, on economic policy around the pandemic, but also a high degree of uncertainty.



When asked about international companies having a major role in national infrastructure projects, there is also high suspicion of China.



Commenting on the results, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair stated: “we will have to live with the reality that we will in some areas have to be prepared to confront China where its actions conflict with the reasonable interests and values of the wider international community; be able to compete with China where it is legitimate; and be ready to cooperate with China where it is necessary and to the benefit of the West, China and the world”.

See results

Read the full report by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change on “Resetting the West's Relationship With China”

Image: Getty

Graphics by Eir Nolsoe, YouGov Data Journalist

YouGov-Cambridge Centre

The YouGov-Cambridge Centre for Public Opinion Research is a joint research centre run by YouGov and the Cambridge University POLIS Department, which promotes in-depth collaboration between pollsters and academic experts. Alongside research and events, the Centre contributes to teaching at the University and provides several postgraduate scholarships each year.
View all publications