A recent public opinion poll in Britain revealed that an increasing number of Britons see the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a severe threat to the United Kingdom’s security and do not want the country to maintain economic ties with Beijing.
The public opinion poll, conducted by the British Foreign Policy Group, revealed that the CCP, along with Russia, albeit to a lesser extent, is “distrusted by the vast majority of Britons” and is counted as a “clearly hostile” global actor.
Of the total respondents, 41 percent, an increase of 11 percent over last year’s results, consider the CCP a “critical” threat due to the risks it poses to the West “in a number of areas,” while only 22 percent favor pursuing economic relations with Beijing.
An anti-Chinese sentiment was detected among UK respondents relative to 2020 when the same survey was conducted. The increase in this dangerous sentiment comes after a period of strained relations between the two countries, due to Beijing’s controversial actions over its pandemic and overreaching economic policy around the world.
In July last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered Chinese telecommunications company Huawei to be removed from Britain’s 5G networks by 2027 amid fears of espionage and sabotage.
Months later, in October, the British defense committee reported “clear evidence of association between the firm Huawei and the Chinese communist government,” urging British authorities to bring forward the removal of the company’s equipment from the U.K.’s telecommunications infrastructure by 2025.
Only 21 percent of respondents favored the CCP and said they were confident China would act responsibly.
Britain challenged the CCP to some extent during 2020 for its dire human rights record, and those measures were supported by 40 percent of respondents. Criticism of Beijing mainly included claims of its political oppression in Hong Kong and the forced sterilization of Uighurs in the country’s northwestern Xinjiang province.
Nearly a third of respondents said they supported Chinese students attending British universities, and more than a quarter were in favor of Britain continuing to collaborate with China on research projects. This makes it clear that the rejection does not have racist undertones against Chinese-born people, but is aimed at the totalitarian CCP that seeks to export its oppression to the rest of the world.
The poll’s findings come as the government prepares for the publication of the “Integrated Review,” an action plan aimed at outlining Britain’s post-Brexit political and economic priorities.
In this regard, only eight percent of respondents said they believe Britain should focus its foreign policy on the Indo-Pacific, while 37 percent expressed doubts about any structural policy aimed at Asia.