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Executive Summary | Page iii
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  • China’s future role in global economy: US and Chinese business leaders anticipate China will become the world’s largest consumer society 20 years from now. Chinese business leaders have substantially lower expectations than US business leaders in China becoming the world’s largest exporter.
  • China as emerging military power: A strong majority of the American public and elites consider China’s emergence as a military power to be a serious or potential threat. However, the proportion of the American public who views it as little or no threat has risen to 30% from 20% in 2007.
  • US as future global superpower: Despite the rapid rise of China, a majority of the American public and elites think the US will remain the world’s leading superpower 20 years from now. A majority of the Chinese elites share the same view of future US leadership. Fifty-eight percent of the Chinese public, however, believe China will become the world’s future leading superpower.
  • Favorable impressions of each other: About 55% of the American public holds a favorable or somewhat favorable view of China. About 59% of the Chinese public holds a similarly positive view of the US, although almost half of the Chinese public believes that US global influence has decreased over the past 10 years, proportionally the same as in 2007.
Mutual interests and concerns
  • World’s most important partnership: The United States’ most important partner is China, surpassing Great Britain and Japan, according to American public and elites. China’s most important global partner is the United States, followed by Russia, according to Chinese public and elites.
  • Greatest concerns: Economic issues dominate US-China concerns. The top two US concerns are loss of jobs to China and the US trade deficit with China. The top two Chinese concerns are China’s exchange rate policy and also the US trade deficit with China. Human rights remain a high US concern, while Taiwan remains a high Chinese concern.
  • Common interests: The US and China share key common interests in trade, global financial stability, environment, energy, anti-terrorism, nuclear nonproliferation, education reform and security in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Potential conflicts: Many common interest areas are also potential conflict points for US respondents. Trade is a most likely source of conflict for all US respondents, while Chinese elites consider security in the Asia Pacific as the greatest source of potential conflict. Taiwan remains a high potential conflict point for the Chinese public.
  • Mutual trust and lack thereof: The American public is evenly divided on whether China should be trusted, with elites leaning toward less trust. The Chinese public and elites are also divided on whether or not to trust the US.
  • Improving mutual trust: American and Chinese elites identify pragmatic actions to build mutual trust. For the US to trust China, American elites focus on improving transparency, human rights issues, fair trade, intellectual property protection, and fair currency policy. Chinese elites emphasize enhancing communication and cooperation, domestic economic development, trade, political reform, and open government. For China to trust the US, American elites indicate enhancing communications, understanding cultural differences, and improving fair trade, the trade deficit, and diplomatic cooperation. Similarly, Chinese elites urge communication and cooperation, non-interference in Chinese internal matters, reduced political posturing, respecting and understanding China, and avoiding strong-arm politics.
US-China policy
  • American policy toward china: The American public believes the US accepts China’s status as a rising power and wants a collaborative relationship by a widening 3 to 1 margin in contrast to 2 to 1 in 2007. American elites concur by an even wider margin. The Chinese public by a 2 to 1 margin believes the US is trying to prevent China from becoming a great power. Chinese elites, divided on this issue, are leaning more toward Chinese public perceptions.