Australians fear China's growing power, poll shows
Apr 25, 2011, 7:54 GMT
Sydney - Australians believe the United States and China are on course for confrontation and that they will be drawn into the conflict through their military alliance, a poll released Monday showed.
While they value the trade with China that underpins the economy's stellar performance, they resent Australian assets being bought up by Chinese state-owned companies, the annual survey by independent think tank the Lowy Institute found.
The sounding of 1,002 people found 44 per cent feared China would become a military threat to Australia and 87 per cent of those said the military pact with the US would tip the country into conflict.
The poll comes on the eve of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's visit to China as calls mount for her government to block China's programme to buy up farms, mines and real estate.
'Making things even trickier for Prime Minister Gillard as she attempts to refocus on the economic relationship, a majority of Australians continue to say the government is allowing too much investment from China,' institute executive director Michael Wesley said.
More than eight out of 10 respondents agreed with the notion that China views Australia as a country it could invade in the future to secure land and resources.
More than six out of 10 disagreed with the statement that Australia's interests would not be harmed if China gained more power and influence.
China is Australia's biggest trading partner and a major source of new immigrants.
Economic dependence on China was highlighted last week when leading property developer Meriton Apartments said three-quarters of the more than 1,000 flats it builds each year are sold to Chinese investors.
'Our market is the Chinese market, just like coal and iron ore,' Meriton chief Harry Triguboff said.
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