Australia Institute reveals Australians are more scared of China than the Taiwanese

As tensions build between China and other parts of the world, new data reveals Australians fear the east Asian country more than their Taiwanese counterparts, despite their close proximity.

Research by the Australia Institute compared the two nations’ feelings towards China in regards to the country’s aggressiveness, likelihood to attack and whether each nation believes they’re ready to go to war with China, among other areas of inquiry.

The results were obtained via two surveys commissioned by the Australia Institute between August 13 and 16 this year, just over a week after US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.

Participants of the study included 1003 adult Australians and 1002 adult Taiwanese.

The Australia Institutes international and security affairs program director Allan Behm said the surveys were conducted to see if the Taiwanese and Australian viewpoints towards China changed post Ms Pelosi’s controversial visit.

“We’ve done one of these surveys before … so we were just interested in seeing whether after the Pelosi visit, the comparative attitudes of Taiwanese and Australians changed,” Mr Behm told

Stream your news live & on demand with Flash. From CNN International, Al Jazeera, Sky News, BBC World, CNBC & more. New to Flash? Try 1 month free. Offer ends 31 October, 2022 >

But to the former senior foreign affairs, attorney-general and defence official’s surprise, Australians continue to remain more scared of China than the Taiwanese.

“I was actually hoping that Australians were less frightened of China after a change of government but it would appear that we’re just as frightened as we used to be, and still much more frightened than the Taiwanese who actually live right next door,” Mr Behm said.

Key findings

Australians believe there’s a higher chance China will attack their country opposed to the number of Taiwanese who think China will strike Taiwan.

There’s a 3 per cent rise in the number of Australians who think China will launch an attack on the country soon, in comparison to last year’s results.

Meanwhile, 85 per cent of Australians regard China as aggressive compared to 80 per cent of Taiwanese giving their neighbours the same term.

And a quarter of Australian participants believe China will attack Taiwan soon, while just 5 per cent of Taiwanese think China, which shares their maritime boundary, will soon attack Taiwan.

While Mr Behm made it clear that he doesn’t blame the media, he said news sources, social media and the former government’s views could be the reason why Australians are so fearful of the Asian country.

“I think it’s a tribute to the power of the Australian media, and that’s reflecting the megaphone diplomacy of the previous government really, in sort of trumpeting fear of China and the public pick it up and say, ‘Well, if the government thinks that we should be afraid of it, then let’s be afraid of it,’” he said.

However, in Taiwan, Mr Behm thinks the attitude is different due to their understanding of Chinese culture and historic ties with the country, as the Taiwanese know how China’s society and government operates.

“(The Taiwanese) don’t see themselves as a separate sovereign nation because they’re not, but they do understand themselves to be part of that long sweep of Chinese historical culture, and so I think because of that they have a much better understanding of how things are done,” he said.

The data also revealed that men and women have a varied attitude towards China, with 28 per cent of Australian men saying the country would successfully win a war against the Republic of China (PRC), compared to just 14 per cent of women.

“The men are all up there chest thumping, believing that you know, we could win a war,” Mr Behm said. “But the women are very, much more sceptical … and I reckon women know a hell of a lot more about the consequences.”

There’s also a contrast in attitudes between older and younger Australian survey respondents, with those older than 40 years old having more faith in Australia defending itself against China without international assistance compared to those younger than 39 years old.

While the Australia Institute didn’t test why this skew in results occurred, Mr Behm made a logical guess that it could do with the younger generation having a higher chance of being conscripted to fight in a war, compared to the older generation.

“Young men and women are probably thinking, ‘I’m worried about this because it could impact my life’, whereas older people think ‘I find it difficult to get out of bed … I’m not going to get called up’,” he said.

Google search queries skyrocket

Outside the survey, Australians appear to generally be more fearful of China and the aspect of a war, with Google search results for the phrase “will China invade Australia 2022” recording a tremendous increase in searches across Australia in the last 12 months.

Additionally, the search term “Taiwan war” was at peak popularity among Australian Google searches between July 31 and August 6, which was around the time Ms Pelosi visited the region, perhaps indicating Aussies are becoming more conscious of the possibility of a war.

Google Trend results also show those living in NSW, Victoria and Queensland appear to be more fearful about the prospect of a war with China, which the results from the Australia Institute study also reflect.

Action needed to reduce Australians’ China fears

Mr Behm said both parties could take a number of actions to reduce Australians’ China fears.

The Australia Institute director suggested the PRC could start with its government reintroducing Australian correspondent positions to help the two countries communicate.

Rather from an Australian point of view, Mr Behm recommended that Australians put more effort into “understanding our neighbours” better.

This could be through learning a language, appreciating aspects of the Asian culture and to generally become more engaged with the world we inhabit.

“Getting to know (a country) through language is the big window into another society,” Mr Behm said.

The Australia Institute is looking at conducting another survey in a year’s time to see whether Australia’s attitude towards China will change under the Albanese Government.

Originally published as ‘We’re just as frightened as we used to be’: Aussies grow weary of China relations

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Toys Matrix is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – admin@ . The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment
My title Page contents