Executive Summary | Page iv
  • US-China relations trends: Almost half of the American public and elites believe there is no change in US-China relations. The remaining half is divided almost evenly between improved and worse relations. Half of the Chinese public is unsure or believes there is no change, with the other half also evenly split between improving and getting worse. Although more Chinese elites tend to believe relations are improving, the proportion of Chinese elites who perceive worsening US-China relations rose from 3% to 22%, compared to 2007.
  • Who to blame for worsening relations: Half of the American public who see worsening relations blames the US government. Half of the American elites fault the Chinese government. Two out of three Chinese public attribute worsening relations to the US government. Half of Chinese business leaders blame the US government, while half of Chinese opinion leaders blame both governments.
  • Rating government performance: American public (35%) and elites (37%–42%) rate the US government’s handling of bilateral relations as excellent or good, up from a range of 28% to 34% in 2007. The Chinese public’s rating of the US government remains at 27.9% in 2012 and 28% in 2007, while the Chinese opinion leaders’ rating fell from 32% in 2007 to 26.4% in 2012, and business leaders’ rating fell from 48% to 25.3%, respectively. A quarter of American public and elites rates the Chinese government’s handling of bilateral relations as excellent or good, unchanged from 2007.
  • US presence in the Asia pacific: A majority of American public and elites believes US political involvement and military presence in the Asia Pacific will contribute to regional security and create tension among stakeholders. A majority of the Chinese public and elites believe US presence will only create tension among stakeholders. The margin of support is wider from American elites, while the Chinese elites treat the issue as a major potential conflict point in bilateral relations.
  • Taiwan: China-Taiwan relations are a strategic issue in US-China relations, according to all 2012 US respondent groups. The Chinese public and elites think the Taiwan issue is evolving toward peaceful resolution. A majority of Chinese public and elites believe expanding Cross-Strait exchanges could lead to unification.
  • Environment: Roughly half of US respondents worry about global warming, slightly lower than 2007 data. Virtually all US public and elites give the Chinese government low marks on environmental issues. About one-third of US respondents rate the US government’s handling of environmental issues as good or excellent, similar to 2007 ratings. A majority of Chinese elites and over 60% of the Chinese public worry about global warming, all at lower levels than 2007 responses. Chinese business (70.4%) and opinion (83.4%) leaders negatively rate the Chinese government’s handling of environmental issues, whereas the Chinese public’s rating is divided between positive (47.1% ) and negative (43.2%).
Trade and investments
  • Trade benefits and issues: An overwhelming majority of American and Chinese public and elites believe trade is beneficial to the US and China with similar consensus that Chinese products benefit American consumers.
    Tainted food and unsafe toy cases, however, have reduced confidence in products from China. Strong disagreement between the US and China exists on whether China causes job losses in the US. Among the American public who believe China causes job losses in the US, 4 out of 5 believe the US should not outsource manufacturing jobs to China, even if eliminating outsourcing results in higher prices for US consumers. US elites, however, are divided on this issue. Over 80% of US business leaders indicate some or great concerns about China’s intellectual property rights protection if their company is considering doing business with China.
  • Trade deficits: About 70% of the American public thinks the US government is responsible for the country’s large trade deficit with China, increasing from 65% in 2007. About half of US elites and the Chinese public also attribute the deficit to the US government.
  • Business practices in china: US business leaders cite three top concerns in Chinese business practices: poor intellectual property rights protection, corruption and an inadequate legal system. Chinese business leaders indicate corruption, inadequate legal system and bureaucratic interference.