- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 27, 2021

American concerns about China‘s influence over the U.S. government, media and culture are widespread, although a poll shows Republicans are warier than Democrats and independents about Beijing‘s sway.

Some 92% of Republicans harbor concerns about the Chinese government’s influence in the United States, compared with 71% of Democrats and 79% of independents, the July 12-13 poll of more than 1,000 likely 2022 election voters found.

The survey was carried out by the Trafalgar Group, a nationally recognized polling and marketing firm, in partnership with the conservative nonprofit group Convention of States Action, which circulated the results to news outlets this week.

In releasing the figures, Convention of States Action President Mark Meckler accused the Chinese government of engaging in a “decades-long covert strategy to undermine the United States.”

He accused mainstream U.S. media of ignoring Beijing‘s activities and said “the only people who might be surprised by [the poll results] are members of the propaganda press and their allies in Washington, DC, who have worked tirelessly to convince us that Russia is the real threat.”

“Our fight is not with each other, our fight is with the evil communists in China who have snuffed out the light of freedom in their own land, and are now spreading their Great Totalitarian Reset around the globe,” Mr. Meckler said in a statement.

Chinese officials are sharply critical of such characterizations. They assert that Beijing‘s foreign policy, including the billions of dollars China has pumped into its Belt and Road international infrastructure initiatives in recent years, is benevolent and designed to help poorer nations develop economically.

The Biden administration’s posture toward Beijing has remained guarded. The administration has largely picked up where the Trump administration left off to draw attention to threats posed by an increasingly powerful and militarily aggressive, communist-ruled Chinese government.

A core aspect of the approach by both administrations has been to promote greater cohesion among Asia’s most powerful democracies — the so-called Quad countries of India, Japan, Australia and the U.S. — as a buffer to China‘s rising geopolitical influence.

The effort has widespread political support in Washington, where the Pentagon has spent more than a decade warning about expanding great power competition between the U.S. and China, along with Russia.

But the issue of Chinese government influence over the U.S. media and government is more elusive and complex. Congress has struggled to pass coherent legislation in recent years to confront China-backed cyberattacks and hacking operations against American interests and monitor the flow of Beijing-connected money into U.S. civil society institutions, including universities.

The poll results suggest Americans are increasingly concerned about such dynamics.

Roughly 51% of American voters surveyed, regardless of party affiliation, said they are “very concerned” about China’s influence over the U.S. government, media and culture.

Some 18.7% said they are “somewhat concerned,” and 11.5% said they are just “concerned.” Another 18.9% said they are “not concerned.”

Among Democratic voters surveyed, 39.4% said they are “very concerned,” while 71.6% of Republican voters surveyed said they are “very concerned.”

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