Nearly five years on, Beijing is facing its biggest international backlash in decades. Negative views of China are near record highs across the developed world, according to a Pew Research Center survey from June, which showed that at least three-quarters of respondents in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, and the United States now hold broadly negative views of the country.
The European Union, which Beijing worked to court during the Trump era, has officially branded China a “systemic rival,” and NATO leaders have begun to coordinate a common response to Beijing. On China’s doorstep, the leaders of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States have revitalized the “Quad” grouping of nations in response to concerns over Beijing’s intentions. And most recently, the United States and the United Kingdom agreed to share sensitive nuclear secrets with Australia to help it counter China’s naval ambitions in the Pacific.