Press Releases

Committee of 100 Survey Reveals Rare Glimpse into China’s Hopes and Fears

19th April 2012
MEDIA CONTACTS: An Ping, C-100 Director of Public Relations;; 917.670.5871 Steve Fletcher,, 212-239-8679 Barbara Shrager,; 212.935.0210 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Committee of 100 Survey Reveals Rare Glimpse into China’s Hopes and Fear

Key Findings Underscore Critical Need to Improve U.S.-China Trust and Cooperation 

Pasadena, CA (April 19, 2012) — A new survey conducted by The Committee of 100 (C-100), a national non-partisan, non-profit Chinese-American cultural-exchange advocacy organization, reveals that, despite growing mistrust, citizens from both nations acknowledge the need for improved political and business cooperation and diplomacy. The C-100 study provides insight into a broad swath of U.S. and Chinese perceptions of U.S.-China relations and compares them to its similar 2007 “mirror” survey.

“We will use this study to advocate for constructive relationship-building between the peoples of the U.S. and China and to further promote education, diplomacy, and leadership development,” said Dominic Ng, C-100 Chairman and Chairman and CEO of Los-Angeles-based East West Bank. “It is a unique survey due to its large sample size of everyday Chinese citizens, comprehensive questions, and the apparent willingness of the Chinese public and key Chinese business and opinion leaders to express their views on controversial topics and areas of unease.”

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive in the United States and Horizon Research Consultancy Group in China, and titled “U.S.-China Public Perceptions Opinion Survey 2012,”i compares the views of American and Chinese public and elites (business and opinion leaders). This study measures significant shifts in U.S. and Chinese attitudes since 2007 on high-impact economic, political, and security issues, including bilateral trade and investment, U.S. military presence in the Asia Pacific, and China’s emergence as a military and economic global power.

Survey Highlights

Superpower Status 

The Chinese public (58.4%) believes China will overtake the U.S. and become the world’s leading superpower in twenty years. In contrast, Chinese business and opinion leaders are skeptical about China’s global role, with only 37% and 23.1%, respectively, considering superpower status a likely scenario.

While the Chinese elite and the U.S. public still believe the U.S. will be the leading superpower in twenty years, U.S. confidence in its global role since 2007 has dropped to 47% from 69% among U.S. business leaders, and 62% to 55% among U.S. opinion leaders.

Bilateral Relations

Chinese elites and the public are increasingly willing to criticize their own government openly, and feel much more negatively than they did in 2007. Chinese business leaders (54.3%) negatively rate the Chinese government’s handling of bilateral relations with the U.S. – up from 19%, opinion leaders give a 74.5% negative rating – up from 37%, and the public gives a 36.3% rating – up from 27%.

The U.S. is doing a fair to poor job of handling relations with China, according to the majority of both countries’ publics and elites. Reaction is most negative among Chinese elites, with 71.8% of opinion leaders rating the U.S. as fair to poor – up from 66% in 2007 – while 66.5% of business leaders give a low rating – up from 50%.

Military Power and Trust

Over 80% of U.S. business and opinion leaders consider China’s emergence as a military power a potential or serious threat. Roughly 40% of all Chinese respondents think the U.S. military presence in the Asia Pacific region will only create tension among stakeholders.

Over 50% of the American public and elites believe the U.S. should trust China “little” or “not at all.” Over 50% of the Chinese public and elite think the United States is not trustworthy.

Trade and Social Issues

Approximately two-thirds of U.S. business and opinion leaders see China’s emergence as a global economic power as a serious or potential threat to the U.S. In contrast, a similar proportion of China’s elites has positive feelings and believes that China is an economic partner with the U.S. or no threat at all. Just under one-third of U.S. elites view China as an economic partner.

Poor intellectual property rights protection ranks first among U.S. business leaders’ top concerns about doing business in China (81% up from 69%). In contrast, less than half of China’s business leaders consider intellectual property rights protection policy to have a negative impact on foreign investment.

U.S. and Chinese elites each think the media of the other country does not report accurately on its counterpart, with over 55% of U.S. elites and 60% of China elites holding this belief. More than 50% of both countries’ publics are also unconvinced they are getting accurate information.

The study concludes that improving international trust through greater public diplomacy, educational exchange, and leadership initiatives will be instrumental in effectively easing international tensions and nurturing common interests. Identification of actionable opportunities for collaboration and trust-building will continue at the C-100’s 21st Annual Conference which begins today in Pasadena, California.

“We are very pleased to share this important survey with the world, our members, and friends today at our annual conference,” concluded Mr. Ng.

For more information and to access an interactive version of the study, please visit: Follow us on Twitter:@Committee100. More information is available via our hashtag: #C100Survey.

About C-100:

Founded in 1989 by renowned architect I.M. Pei along with other prominent Chinese Americans, the Committee of 100 (C-100) is an independent, non-profit membership organization composed of Chinese American leaders working in partnerships towards its mission to (1) encourage constructive relations between the peoples of the United States and Greater China and (2) promote the full participation of Chinese Americans in all aspects of American life. C-100’s initiatives are anchored in three core program areas: education, diplomacy, and leadership development. Programs include educational and cultural exchanges for journalists, educators, and civic and business leaders; people-to-people exchanges and leader-to-leader dialogues; and training American and Chinese youth in language and leadership skills and providing scholarships. C-100’s opinion surveys and research deliver program guidance and products to advance U.S.-China relations and Asian American interests. For more information:

The U.S. portion of this survey was conducted by phone within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of The Committee of 100 from December 14, 2011 and January 31, 2012 among 1,400 U.S. adults—1,000 among the general population and 400 across various business executives, opinion leaders, and Congressional staffers. Results were weighted to reflect the U.S. adult population. The margin of error for the U.S. general population is +/- 3.0, and between +/- 6.2 and 16.2 for the other U.S. participants.

The Chinese public portion of this survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews with a general population sample of 3,775 Chinese adults aged 18-60 within China by Horizon Research Consultancy between December 17 and December 27, 2011. The sample was constructed using a multistage random sampling method, including respondents from 12 prefectural-level cities, 12 towns, and 12 villages. Horizon Research conducted face-to-face and telephone interviews with 162 business elites in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhuo between December 12, 2011 and January 16, 2012. The sample was based on executives and senior level decision makers from corporations in different industries and of different types of ownership. In the same time period and cities, Horizon Research conducted 216 face-to-face interviews with opinion leaders. The margin of error for the Chinese general population is +/- 1.7 and not available for the business and opinion leaders.

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