No Friend in Wen

Poll: Americans do not see Chinese leader as friend of American worker


A new nationwide survey reveals that Americans overwhelmingly reject a major U.S. labor union’s labeling of Chinese Communist leader Wen Jiabao as a “Friend of the American Worker.”

A new Rasmussen Reports national survey found that 77 percent of Americans disagree with the International Longshoreman’s Association’s award to Wen. Only 5 percent of Americans shared the union’s view; 18 percent were undecided.

The ILA is the nation’s largest maritime union.

The survey follows reports of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin telling reporters in Beijing that Wen had been given the “Best Friend of American Worker” union award and that it was accepted by the Chinese ambassador to the United States.

The award from the Longshoremen’s Association was meant to “thank the Chinese government for its efforts to encourage Chinese enterprises’ investment in the U.S, and to promote bilateral economic cooperation and trade” based on the China Ocean Shipping Co.’s work in Boston.

The union, an AFL-CIO affiliate, did not publicize the award.

The Rasmussen poll also found that large numbers of Americans view China as a major economic threat. One in four respondents stated that China is an enemy of the United States.

The telephone survey results showed that 9 percent of American adults regard China as a U.S. ally while 25 percent say the emerging Asia power is an enemy. A total of 64 percent rated China as somewhere between an enemy and an ally.

By contrast, more than 70 percent of Americans view Iran and North Korea and U.S. enemies. Both countries have been identified as the No. 1 and 2 foes of the United States for the past several years.

The survey was conducted March 14 and 15 by polling 1,000 people. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percent.

Other notable findings of the survey include:

  • Financial investors were more critical of China than non-investors, with 83 percent of investors viewing China as a bigger economic threat, with 63 percent of non-investors sharing that view. A total of 83 percent of investors rejected the Chinese premier as the best friend of the American worker, while 70 percent of non-investors said Wen was no friend of the worker.
  • 40 percent of Republicans regard China as an enemy, while 12 percent of Democrats view China as a foe.
  • 32 percent of those surveyed agreed with Wen’s September 2010 statement that U.S.-China relations are facing a “bright future.”
  • 69 percent of Americans believe China’s communist government will use it large holdings of U.S. debt against the United States in the next five years.