The Changing Perception of the Chinese on American Policies in the Post COVID-19 Pandemic Era

Abstract

Chinese perception of humiliation threat has been deeply rooted in their mind because of China’s early encounter with Western and Japanese imperialism. According to a number of studies (Chen & Garcia, 2016; Gries et al., 2011; He, 2018; Zhang, 2002), the century of humiliation starting from the mid-19th century has greatly affected Chinese understanding of their self-identity and perception of behaviors from external world. Chinese perception of humiliation threat has contributed to their tendency of putting themselves in the place of victim when interacting with other countries and inclination to nationalism. However, has such perception changed with the accelerated rise of China’s power in recent years? To explore the present perception of Chinese college students on U.S. policies on China, online questionnaires were distributed to undergraduates in United International College and semi-structured interviews were conducted in the summer of 2020. It is found out that while 68.5 percent of respondents still regard most American policies on China as provoking humiliation, they have been fully aware of their personal bias given by the history and tried to view it more objectively. Moreover, regarding Sino-American relationship, although most respondents perceive current American policies towards China as quite unfriendly, they consider the U.S. as an opportunity rather than an enemy and regard China as a competitor rather than a victim. This study also revealed that even in the post COVID-19 era – a special moment of deepening conflicts between these two nations, 90.5 percent of respondents actually have a friendly attitude towards the U.S. and are looking forward to more mutually beneficial cooperation. This study is expected to contribute to an updated American understanding towards Chinese college students’ perception of foreign policies and identity as Chinese in the post COVID-19 era.



Author Information
Xuanyi Li, BNU-HKBU United International College, China

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2020
Stream: Mass Communication

This paper is part of the MediAsia2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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