On June 5, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) released the results of its 2018 Annual Opinion Poll on Canadians views of Asia. Since 2004, APF Canada has been conducting nationwide surveys to assess Canadians’ attitudes toward countries in the Asia Pacific and their perceptions of Canada-Asia relations. The NOP is a traditional long-form survey that covers a wide range of countries and topics. Specifically regarding China, this year’s survey shows that:
- Canadians’ feelings toward Asia have ‘warmed up’ since 2010, but of all Asian countries listed in the survey China ranks the lowest, receiving the coolest feelings from Canadians in 2018.
- Negative feelings toward China are associated with human rights (42%), environmental conditions (18%), and government (16%). Positive feelings are associated with economy (30%), culture (15%), and history (13%).
- The great majority (70% or above) of Canadians agree that the Canadian government should push China to advance various rights for Chinese citizens.
- 60% of Canadians agree that the growing importance of China as an economic power is more of an opportunity than a threat, up from 41% four years ago. The Atlantic provinces (69%), Saskatchewan (66%), and Manitoba (66%) have the strongest belief that China represents more of an opportunity than a threat.
- 51% of Canadians think the Chinese market oﬀers great potential for Canada, while the United States receive 41% and the European Union 37%.
- Despite positive attitudes toward the Chinese market, Canadians express concerns about investment from China, particularly in residential and commercial real estate where around 60% perceive “too much” investment.
- There is strong support for potential free trade agreements (FTAs) with Asian economies. Among countries listed in the survey, China receives the lowest level of support (59%). This, however, represents a considerable increase from 2014, when support for an FTA with China received about 35% support.
- More than 40% say that ‘progressive’ elements should be included in FTAs with Asian economies. Canadians are less likely to say that ‘progressive’ elements should be in FTAs with Taiwan (40%) and Hong Kong (41%) than they would for China (50%).
China Research Partnership – May/June 2018 Highlights
May and June have been two busy months at the China Research Partnership. Researchers from our partner institutions published many articles, reports, blogs, op-eds, etc. Since May 1, more than 30 publications were added to the list of Canadian publications on China, here are some highlights:
- APF Canada launched two new web series. The first series, the China Eco-City Tracker explores the environmental protection performance of China's 31 provincial capital cities and central-governed municipalities by comparing air, water, and waste pollution data since 2013. The second series, The Polar Silk Road, looks into the development of the Arctic dimension of China's Belt and Road Initiative.
- Following the rejection by Canada’s federal government of the Chinese takeover of Toronto-based construction firm Aecon, Stewart Beck (APF Canada) published an op-ed in the Globe and Mail arguing that the decision sends a confusing message to China. The China Institute published an article explaining why the Canadian government needs to make a better ‘business case’ for its engagement with China.
- The China Institute released two reports on State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in Canada: State-owned Enterprises in the Chinese Economy Today: Role, Reform and Evolution and Chinese State-owned Enterprises in an Alberta-China Strategy: Role, Opportunities, and Challenges with Special Reference to a Potential Canada – China Free Trade Agreement.
- Yves Tiberghien (UBC) published a chapter in a report on China’s role in the governance of climate change.
- Ashley Esarey (China Institute) co-authored an article in the International Journal of Communication looking into civil society interactions in the digital world in China.
- Stephen Nagy (APF Canada) published several articles on the United States-North Korea summit. You can see the list of his recent publications on the topic here.
Our partners also held several conferences and events on Canada-China relations. For example, the China Institute held its annual conference on Canada-China economic relations on May 17. You can read the summary report here. And on June 1, the Canada-China Institute for Business and Development held a very timely conference on the complex trade relationship between Canada, China, and the United States. You can look at coverage of this event here.