Almost 30,000 cases of coronavirus have been officially confirmed, amid reports of Chinese authorities increasingly cracking down on information at the epicentre of the crisis. With governments around the world imposing travel bans, as well as local Chinese communities being unfairly stigmatised, trust is clearly frayed.
The Lowy Poll has charted public attitudes about “trust in major powers” for 15 years, and the results on China are revealing. In 2019, just 28% of respondents said they trust China “somewhat” to act responsibly in the world. This was a sharp fall from 2006, when 53% said the same. In addition, the most recent Lowy Poll found 45% of respondents have “not too much confidence” in Chinese President Xi Jinping to do the right thing regarding world affairs, while 23% have “no confidence at all”.
This lack of trust looks likely to be further tested.