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New survey reveals what Australians really think about China

Australia’s trust in China is at its lowest point following the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new poll.

Nine in 10 Aussies want the government to reduce the country’s dependence on China, the annual Lowy Institute Poll revealed this week.

Out of the almost 2,500 people questioned in late March, only 23 per cent said they trust China “to act somewhat responsibly in the world”.

Security guards check body temperature of people passing by on the road blockade in China. Source: AAP
More Australians appear to be leaning on the country’s other top ally, the US. Source: AAP

Only 22 per cent of Aussies said they have some or a lot of confidence in China’s President Xi Jinping “to do the right thing” when it comes to world affairs, and only 55 per cent see the country as an economic partner – a drop of 27 points since 2018.

More Australians appear to be leaning on the country’s other top ally, the US, with 55 per cent saying its relationship is more important than China, while 40 per cent said the relationship with China is more important.

The majority of people aged between 18 and 29 years old said the relationship with China is more important, while those over the age of 30 believe the US is a better ally.

The gap between the two superpowers as a preferred ally was much closer in 2017, with only a two per cent gap in favour of the US.

The Great Hall of the People is seen in Beijing, China. Source: Getty
China has placed an 80 per cent tariff on barley and suspended beef imports. Source: Getty

The results come after a tumultuous few months between the three countries.

Tensions arose between Australia and China after Scott Morrison called for the course of the coronavirus pandemic to be investigated independently.

Aussies feel ‘distrustful’

China hit back by placing an 80 per cent tariff on barley and suspending beef imports.

Australians are feeling "far more distrustful, pessimistic and generally less secure in the world,” Natasha Kassam from the Lowy Institute told ABC.

"This may not sound particularly surprising given the COVID-19 pandemic and Australia's first recession in 29 years," she said.

"But we can see that ongoing tensions with China and frustration with the United States have contributed to this generally gloomy sentiment."

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