Trust in China Falls Sharply Among Australians, Lowy Poll Finds

By Reuters
June 24, 2020Australia
Trust in China Falls Sharply Among Australians, Lowy Poll Finds
Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping (R) and Premier Li Keqiang arrive for the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, on March 15, 2019. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

SYDNEY—Trust in China among Australians has more than halved amid diplomatic and trade disputes, with only 23 percent saying they trusted Beijing to act responsibly in the world compared to a 52 percent reading two years ago, a major poll has found.

The annual Lowy Institute Poll also found rising support for Australia’s security alliance with the United States, up six points to 78 percent this year.

“Trust in our largest trading partner—China—has declined precipitously. Confidence in China’s leader Xi Jinping, has fallen even further,” wrote Lowy Institute executive director Michael Fullilove.

In total, 94 percent of respondents thought the Australian government should work to reduce its economic reliance on China by diversifying its trade.

Amid the CCP virus pandemic, Australians were less trusting of most countries around the world, and only half of Australians said they felt safe.

Diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Canberra have worsened since Australia called for an international inquiry into the source and spread of the new CCP virus, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

China has banned some Australian beef imports and imposed tariffs on Australian barley. It has also urged Chinese students and tourists to avoid Australia.

The survey found 55 percent rated Australia’s relationship with the United States as more important than the relationship with China, compared to 40 percent who chose China.

The number of Australians who saw China as an economic partner fell to 55 percent in 2020, significantly down from a reading of 82 percent in 2018.

NTD staff contributed to this report.

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