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Americans see China as economic threat

Workers prepare to hoist a U.S. flag on Beijing's Tiananmen Square Monday ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit.
Workers prepare to hoist a U.S. flag on Beijing's Tiananmen Square Monday ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 71 percent of Americans polled consider China an economic threat
  • More than 1,000 adult Americans were questioned by telephone
  • Poll coincides with Obama's visit to China
RELATED TOPICS
  • China
  • Barack Obama
  • Hu Jintao

Washington (CNN) -- Americans are split over whether China represents a military threat to the United States -- but there is no doubt in the public's mind that the country poses an economic threat, according to a new national poll.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday, 51 percent of the public consider China a military threat, with 47 percent disagreeing. That 4-point margin is within the poll's 4.5 percent sampling error.

The poll's release coincides with U.S. President Barack Obama's first visit to China to bolster relations. At a town hall meeting on Monday he made the case to Chinese students that the two countries' philosophical differences should not get in the way of a robust relationship.

According to the survey, two-thirds see China as a source of unfair competition for U.S. companies, while only a quarter are more likely to view China as a huge potential market for U.S. goods.

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"That may be why 71 percent of Americans consider China an economic threat to the U.S.," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Americans tend to view foreign countries as competition, and China is no exception."

Only a quarter of those questioned in the poll say that China has a good track record on human rights. Sixty-eight percent suggested that China is doing a bad job respecting the human rights of its citizens.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

 
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