The Chinese survey, conducted online by the Global Times Research Center and the Australian Studies Centre of Beijing Foreign Studies University, found that 55.6 per cent of respondents had a positive view of the Australia-China relationship, down from 65.3 per cent in 2020.
About 41.3 per cent felt Australia posed a military, political or ideological threat, while 88 per cent said China functioned as primarily an economic partner to Australia.
The Times, an English-language outlet run by the Chinese Communist Party, claimed that Australia’s actions were largely to blame for the changing relations.
“Australia singlehandedly has to be responsible for such simmering public opinion,” Chen Hong, a professor and director of the Australian Studies Center of East China Normal University, told the Times.
“Australian media and politicians have been smearing and criticising China on every front, be it economy, COVID-19 or other issues.
“Yet Australia has been less frequently mentioned in Chinese publications.”
Countries with the highest military expenditure in the world
Nearly half those surveyed blamed the US for the deteriorating relationship.
Asked if they saw relations improving in the next couple of years, 44 per cent of respondents agreed, while 22 per cent were ambivalent.
Notably, the Australian Lowy poll found that the majority of Australians felt that meetings with Chinese people, and Chinese history and culture, influenced them positively towards the nation, with distrust and criticism mostly centred around government policy.
A majority of Australians also remained hopeful of having good relationships with China and the US.