Attitudes Towards Russia and the USA in the Public Opinion of Modern China

Attitudes Towards Russia and the USA in the Public Opinion of Modern China

Li Qin

PhD (Philol.), Senior Lecturer, Institute of Foreign Languages, Southeast University, Jiangsu Province, Nanjing, PRC

Babich N.S.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), senior research fellow, Institute of Sociology of the FCTAS RAS, Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, RUDN University, Moscow, Russia

ID of the Article:

Co-author of this article Li Qin was supported by Fundamental Research Funds for Chinese Central Universities (Project No. 2242020S20050 and Project No. 2242020R10030) and Jiangsu Province Project ”Double Creative PhD“ (JSSCBS202030305).

For citation:

Li Qin, Babich N.S. Attitudes Towards Russia and the USA in the Public Opinion of Modern China. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2023. No 4. P. 129-140


The acute Russian-American confrontation made it important to reveal the attitude of international public opinion towards Russia and the United States, especially in countries such as China. But the specifics of the attitudes of the population towards foreign states makes it necessary to analyze many aspects of these attitudes, preferably over a long period of time. Since public opinion poll data are usually severely limited both in the number of indicators and in temporal coverage, there is a need to summarize as many polls conducted by different organizations as possible. In this article, such a generalization is made on the basis of eight large-scale public opinion surveys covering the period from 2004 to 2022, including the time shortly before and after the start of the SMO (special military operation). An analysis of survey data reveals that public opinion in the PRC from 2004 to 2021 consistently treated Russia much more favorably: a large majority systematically expressed positive attitudes, the gap of which from attitudes towards the United States frequently exceeded 50%. With the onset of SMO, this positive attitude worsened in some aspects, improved in others, everywhere by an insignificant amount. Attitudes towards the United States also slightly worsened. Thus, we can confidently say that the public opinion of modern China has a very positive attitude towards Russia, rather negative towards the United States, the beginning of the SMO, in general, did not change this situation, and the current events are not perceived by the Chinese public as extraordinary, requiring revision of views on international relations.

public opinion; PRC; special military operation; attitude towards Russia; attitude towards USA


Ли Ц., Бабич Н.С. Достоверность опросов общественного мнения в Китае // Социологические исследования. 2023. № 3. С. 38–43. [Li Qin, Babich N.S. (2023) Reliability of opinion polls in China. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 3: 38–43. (In Russ.)]

Тен Н.В. От Пушкина до Путина: образ России в современном Китае (1991–2010). М.: НЛО 2016. [Ten N.V. (2016) From Pushkin to Putin: The Image of Russia in Modern China (1991–2010). Moscow: NLO. (In Russ.)]

Янков А.Г. Синофобия-русофобия: реальность и иллюзии // Социологические исследования. 2010. № 3. С. 65–71. [Yankov A.G. (2010) Sino phobia vs. Russo phobia: realities and illusions. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 3: 65–71. (In Russ.)]

Fang S., Li X., Liu A.Y. (2022) Chinese public opinion about US – China relations from Trump to Biden. The Chinese Journal of International Politics. No. 1: 27–46. DOI: 10.1093/cjip/poac001.

Foa R.S., Mollat M., Isha H., Romero-Vidal X., Evans D., Klassen A.J. (2022) A World Divided: Russia, China and the West. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Centre for the Future of Democracy.

Pan J., Xu Y. (2018) China’s ideological spectrum. The Journal of Politics. No 1: 254–273. DOI: 10.1086/694255.

Pew Research Center. (2023a) Global Indicators Database. Opinion of Russia. URL: https://www. (accessed 17.02.2023).

Van der Noll J., Dekker H. (2016) A comparative analysis of Chinese urban citizens’ attitudes towards the EU, the United States, Russia and Japan. International Relations. Vol. 30. No. 4: 456–472. DOI: 10.1177/0047117816649249.

Wike R., Fetterolf J., Fagan M., Gubbala S. (2022) International Attitudes Toward the U.S., NATO and Russia in a Time of Crisis. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center. URL: wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/06/PG_2022.07.22_U.S.-Image_FINAL.pdf (accessed 17.02.2023).

李随安. 中国的俄罗斯形象 (1949–2009). 哈爾濱: 黑龙江教育出版社, 2012. [Li Sui’an. (2012) The Image of Russia in China (1949–2009). Harbin: Heilongjiang Education Press. (In Chin.)]

Content No 4, 2023