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New survey of Chinese and Americans shows deep mistrust, but also shared opinions

by AirTalk®

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A waitress cleans the carpet in front of American and Chinese flags ahead of a press conference for the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) at the Great Hall of People on May 25, 2010 in Beijing, China. Feng Li/Getty Images

We don’t know each other. We don’t trust each other. But we do need each other.

These are just a few of the conclusions in a major new opinion survey of the people of China and folks here in the U.S. The study comes from the Committee of 100, a non-partisan group of Chinese-American leaders founded in 1990 by architect I.M Pei.

The group is holding its 21st annual conference today in Pasadena. They’re gathering an impressive roster of speakers including Stewart Kwoh, the President of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California (APALC), Dominic Ng, CEO of East West Bank, and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the richest man in Los Angeles, to talk about business and political issues of import to China and America. The survey, released in conjunction with the conference, included 4,000 participants in China and 1,400 in the U.S.

The results indicate that we seem to have one major thing in common. More than half the Americans questioned say China can’t be trusted. An equal number of Chinese say the same thing about Americans. Distrust can often come from poor information and in both nations over 50-percent say the other country’s media doesn’t show an accurate picture of its counterpart. Even so, a majority of both peoples believe the relationship between China and the U.S. is the most important partnership in the world.

Why? What are the major concerns both sides share? What can be done to improve political and business cooperation – for everyone’s benefit? We’ll talk with two of the survey co-chairs about the findings and implications.


Frank Wu, Chancellor and Dean, University of California Hastings College of the Law; Co-Director, Committee of 100

Charlie Woo, CEO, Megatoys, an internationally known toy manufacturing company based in downtown Los Angeles; Co-Director, Committee of 100

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