Canberra [Australia], June 16 (ANI): Amid souring ties between Australia and China, a new survey has shown that at least 76 per cent of Australians have expressed mistrust of the Chinese government and 63 per cent of people have called for a harder line in respect to Canberra's policies towards Beijing.
The Australia-China Relations Institute of the University of Technology Sydney, in a recent poll, highlighted the significant difficulties in the relations between Canberra and Beijing.
"Chinese economic coercion has started to bite and Canberra's pushback against Beijing has reached a new intensity. In both Canberra and Washington there now appears to be a solid consensus across party lines on the need to respond to China's rise more forcefully," said the institute.
The survey showed that the views of Australians on China have generally become more pessimistic over the last year, with 62 per cent saying that their view "has become more negative following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic".
Moreover, approximately three-quarters of Australians (74 per cent) express concerns about Australia's relationship with China. Additionally, 72 per cent agreed that "The Australian government was right to publicly call for an international investigation into the origins of COVID-19."Around 80 per cent of Australians believe that Australia is too economically reliant on China, while 81 per cent of the population says that Australian universities are too financially reliant on international students from China.
Just over half of Australians (51 per cent) also believe that foreign investment from China is more detrimental than beneficial to Australia. Australians express concerns about Chinese investment into Australian agricultural assets, with 65 per cent of Australians say that Chinese ownership of agricultural assets are more concerning than ownership by companies from other countriesMeanwhile, 67 per cent of Australians say that China is a security threat to Australia. When pressed on whether Australia should lend military support to the United States in the event of conflict between the US and China over Taiwan, 45 per cent of Australians agree with the statement, with 43 per cent undecided and 13 per cent disagreeing.
Half of Australians also believe Australia should ban Chinese-owned apps such as TikTok and WeChat and 53 per cent believe that the Australian government is right not to sign up to/participate in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Tensions between China and Australia have escalated over a slew of issues.
Relations started to fray in 2018 when Australia banned Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies from building its 5G network, the first Western country to do so.
Since then, relations have deteriorated and are now perceived to be at their lowest point following Canberra's criticisms of how Beijing handled the coronavirus pandemic. Canberra has also been locked in an ongoing trade war with Beijing for several months as China has slapped sanctions on various Australian products.
China, early this month, had suspended all activities under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, a forum launched in 2014 and last convened in 2017.
This decision came a few weeks after Australia scrapped the controversial Belt and Road (BRI) agreement with China. (ANI)