lørdag 10. juli 2021

The numbers behind Europe’s anti-China sentiment

By all accounts, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was a dyed-in-the-wool Sinophile during his stint as London’s mayor, the post he leveraged into the premiership in 2019. Those warm feelings carried over initially in his move to Downing Street, where he was filmed in January 2020 painting the eyes of customed dragon dancers in a Chinese New Year ritual attended by Beijing’s ambassador to the United Kingdom. But by April last year, after the pandemic started its lethal global spread, his Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab set a new tone when he said that relations with China cannot “return to normal.”

Later that year, Johnson’s decision to block Chinese tech giant Huawei’s participation in the country’s 5G network solidified the trend, reversing what were previously cordial and constructive ties.

British public opinion has shifted with Johnson’s government. Whereas only 55% of Brits viewed China negatively in 2019, by 2020 the rate had risen to 74%, making Brits more hostile to China than even Americans that year, according to Pew Research Center surveys.