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The US public supports action against China’s abuses of human rights – The Diplomat


The continued violation of human rights by China is a frequent cause of tension in Sino-US relations. The The United States has condemned repeatedly treated ethnic minorities, especially Uighurs in Xinjiang, and imposed sanctions on human rights abuses. Much overlooked in this discussion of growing tensions is how the American public sees these human rights issues and how those perceptions will shape future relations with China. .

To analyze public opinion on human rights in China, we conducted a survey of 934 Americans questioned through mTurk Amazon on March 4, 2021. First, the respondents were asked: ” On a scale of 1-5, with 1 not a problem and 5 being a serious issue, how big would you consider human rights violations in China today? “

While the question may be leading, assuming that the public is aware of China’s human rights issues and they exist, we find that the vast majority of respondents (81.9%) consider Chinese offense is a serious problem (4 or 5 on a scale). Even more divided, both Democrats and Republicans share similar sentiments (82% and 84%, respectively). These results demonstrate the perception that China’s human rights violations are a possible urgent problem affect policy.

In the past, the United States has taken a tough power approach to things like “Trade, security, currency, maritime claims and intellectual property” but a soft power, either “lead by example,” approach to human rights issues. However, as the severity of the situation in western China became more widely known, the US response went beyond soft power, impose economic sanctions selected Chinese officials as punishment.

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Next, the respondents were asked, “In a word or phrase, what would you consider the most pressing problem in China related to human rights?” The figure below illustrates the most common words or phrases mentioned in the open answer, with larger words appearing more often.

More than 96% of respondents volunteered to give specific examples or view human rights violations as a whole in China. Of the responses, about 12 per cent regulated the detention camps in western China. Others emphasized the bad treatment of workers in western China, where it is alleged Factories rely on forced labor. Overall, respondents were more likely to point out concerns about Uyghurs than any other religion or ethnicity, with nearly 15% of responses indicating Uyghur names, compared with just 3%. designate any other ethnic group. This shows that the Americans are increasingly aware of the Uighurs plight and the mistreatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang, where a few years ago the area and its people were mostly unknown.

Finally, we randomly assign respondents to one of the four versions of a human rights question in China, so that we can identify framing that can affect perceptions. how. The versions are:

Version 1: Recent reports allege that women in western China are systematically raped in the internship camps. Should the United States impose economic sanctions on China?

Version 2: Recent reports allege that Muslim women in western China are systematically raped in the internship camps. Should the United States impose economic sanctions on China?

Version 3: Recent reports allege that women in western China are systematically raped in the internship camps. Should the US impose economic sanctions on China, even if it worsens US-China relations?

Version 4: Recent reports allege that Muslim women in western China are systematically raped in the internship camps. Should the US impose economic sanctions on China, even if it worsens US-China relations?The data shows that the majority of responses favor sanctions on clear versions, with Version 3 having the highest level of support (81.5%), while Version 4 makes the lowest ( 71.7%). This pattern exists when separated by partisan or gender, further demonstrating the tolerance of sanctions even as a result of deteriorating relations with China.

These figures show that the American public is increasingly aware of the problems associated with China’s human rights violations, possibly due to the proliferation of the media. US perceptions of human rights data in China prove that many believe mass detention and surveillance The Uyghurs have been a prominent human rights crisis. However, the rise of negative American media coverage of these issues has also affected Chinese perceptions of the United States. Research is conducted in 2019 on the impact of human rights pressures in authoritarian states that show a tendency for citizens to become defensive when their country is criticized, especially when those criticisms come from a well-recognized adversary. clear. Meanwhile, the more human rights abuses in China are raised and discussed, the more likely the US will continue to support policies such as sanctions.

Consequently, as the US continues to push China for human rights and Chinese citizens become less concerned with what is seen as anti-China rhetoric, the bilateral relationship is likely to continue to deteriorate.

Learn realizing that strong bilateral relationships require homogeneity, while perceiving another country as “Other” in terms of value or culture had the opposite effect. In addition to influencing how Americans perceive China, perceptions of “difference” could further affect how Americans perceive religious groups in China and the extent to which Americans are willing to act. to support persecuted religious groups. While support for sanctions is lowest when our survey specifically identifies the abuse of Muslim women, this may change as recognition of these practices increases. This atrocity led Americans to view China as “another country”. With the public’s support for the United States to continue to pressure China in the face of a stubborn Chinese government and the Chinese public’s rejection of human rights claims, the bilateral relationship will continue. keep getting stuck.

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