May 6, 2021

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Chinese Australians less likely to support democracy, survey finds

2 min read


More than three-quarters of Chinese-Australians said the country is a good place to live, but only 36% agree that “democracy is better than any other form of government”.

The Lowy Institute’s think tank also found that nearly a third of Chinese-Australians said they had been verbally assaulted and 18% said they had been physically assaulted or threatened because of their ethnicity in the past 12 months.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the sharp deterioration in Australia’s relations with China were cited by more than half of those polled as contributing factors to this discriminatory treatment.

The results are contained in “Being Chinese in Australia: Public Opinion in Chinese Communities,” which is based on one of the largest surveys of Chinese-Australians. It portrays a wide range of perspectives among the 1.2 million people living in Australia of Chinese descent, nearly half of whom have migrated to the country in the past decade.

Support for democracy is significantly lower than among the general Australian population, with just over a third of Chinese-Australians saying that “democracy is better than any other form of government”, compared to 71% of the population. Australian in the broad sense. Four in ten Chinese said that under certain circumstances an undemocratic government might be better.

The Lowy Institute said the findings were consistent with academic research which indicated that migrants leaving authoritarian regimes into stable democracy “don’t see democracy as the only game in the city.”

The disparate handling of Covid-19 has also sparked a global debate over the role of political systems in responding to crises, especially given China’s relative success compared to the United States, he said.

Recent Chinese migrants to Australia tend to be more supportive of the Chinese system of government, compared to permanent residents and Chinese-Australians with citizenship.

Research was conducted in November against the backdrop of the worst breakdown in bilateral relations a generation after Canberra’s call for an investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 epidemic in Wuhan.

It followed an intense debate over foreign interference in Australia, which was primarily aimed at thwarting Beijing’s efforts to influence Australian politics and society across the Chinese diaspora.

The survey found that the Chinese-Australian community was deeply divided on the issue, with 46% of them expressing concern about China’s influence in Australia’s political process. Just under half of those polled said the media and politicians paid “too much attention” to foreign interference while 39 percent felt the public paid “too little attention” to the interference. foreign.

The vast majority of Chinese-Australians said they had virtually no contact with the local Chinese embassy or consulate, and three-quarters reported limited contact with Chinese community organizations.

The government-funded survey is based on 1,040 interviews with Australian residents who identify as being of Chinese descent. A nationally representative survey of 3,029 Australian adults was also conducted in parallel to provide comparative data.



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