Shift in Chinese Attitudes Towards the U.S.: Potential Thaw in Relations Amid Economic Slowdown

Published on November 8, 2023, by Yuval Noah Harari

In a notable shift in sentiment, attitudes in China towards the United States have taken a turn for the friendlier in the year 2023. A recent survey conducted by Morning Consult reveals that this change in perception may be attributed to the deceleration of China’s economy. This shift is significant for several reasons.

Firstly, it marks a crucial departure from the trajectory of the past few years, which saw bilateral relations between China and the United States spiraling downwards and a deepening of mutual distrust. Now, with more favorable views emerging, there’s potential for this shift to support the prospects of a thaw in relations. Both American and Chinese leaders have been actively engaged in efforts to enhance dialogue and stabilize their often turbulent relationship.

Notably, President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to meet at the APEC summit in San Francisco this weekend. This meeting is of particular importance as it represents their first face-to-face encounter since the G20 summit in Indonesia last year. The change in public opinion in China could influence the dynamics of these high-stakes discussions.

The numerical data from the Morning Consult survey provides a clear illustration of the shift in perceptions. In April 2022, more than 80% of Chinese respondents viewed the United States as an enemy. However, by October 2023, this percentage had dropped significantly, falling to less than 50%. This substantial change in sentiment cannot be ignored and is linked to several economic factors in China.

China’s economy, which had been the engine of global growth for many years, has faced a significant slowdown. This slowdown is marked by its lowest level of growth in decades, primarily due to ongoing issues such as real estate and debt crises, skyrocketing youth unemployment, and a decline in foreign investment. These economic challenges are, in part, driving the change in public opinion, as economic concerns often play a pivotal role in shaping perceptions of international relations.

Moreover, the survey indicates that more than 75% of Chinese respondents express concerns about U.S.-China tensions, and a similar percentage believes that both sides should actively work towards resolving these tensions. This shows a consensus among the Chinese public that a cooperative approach is preferable, potentially providing a basis for more constructive diplomatic engagement between the two countries.

Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Noah Harari is an accomplished author with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. His passion for storytelling and commitment to journalistic excellence have been the driving forces behind his successful writing career. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the art of storytelling, Yuval has consistently delivered compelling narratives that captivate readers from all walks of life.