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Australians’ trust in China falls to record low: Lowy Poll

Only 32 percent of Australians believe China is a responsible actor in the world

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Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Australians are losing faith in China, with only 32 percent believing that it as a responsible player in the world, according to the 2019 Lowy Poll conducted by the Lowy Institue, a Sydney-based think tank.

This marks the lowest level of trust in China since the poll was first conducted in 2006. It also indicates a significant drop from the 52 percent reported last year, a shift in attitude that holds true across all ages groups.

As many as 74 percent of respondents feel that Australians are too heavily reliant on China economically, despite the fact that 55 percent admitted in 2018 that the country was a “leading economic power.” In addition, excessive Chinese investment continues to be a concern, with 68 percent of Australians feeling displeased about the government’s allowing “too much” investment from China.

The poll suggests that Australians’ cooler attitude towards the East Asian state may be partly attributed to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, which some regard as an infrastructure-based “debt trap,” as well as its militarization activities in the South China Sea.

Nearly 80 percent of Australians support the idea that more should be done to counter China’s military activities in the region, even to the detriment of economic relations between the two nations. Meanwhile, 79 percent agree that China is projecting its power in the region through its infrastructure projects.