By ANGUS REID INSTITUTE
March 16, 2021 – Amid news from Chinese state-affiliated media that the trials of detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor will begin “soon,” their fellow citizens say Sino-Canadian relations cannot improve until the men are released.
“The Michaels,” as they have come to be known, have been in Chinese detention since December 2018. Now, with talk of a Canadian “reset” on China policy, new public opinion data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds 77 per cent of Canadians of the view that any warming of relations between the two countries is dependent on China setting Spavor and Kovrig free.
Canadian opinions of the Chinese state remain sour: 14 per cent say they have a favourable view of China (unchanged from last year) while only one-in-ten (11%) would advocate for closer trade ties with the nation.
A slight majority are also in little mood for Beijing’s upcoming Olympics. Just over half (56%) say team Canada should sit the 2022 games out.
More Key Findings:
- Three-quarters of Canadians agree that China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims in the country should be called a genocide. The House of Commons recently voted to declare it as such.
- Four-in-five Canadians (79%) now say that respect for human rights and the rule of law should supersede trade and investment opportunities in Canada’s dealings with China. This is a 17-point increase in the number holding this view since 2019
- Very few Canadians feel that the Chinese government has offered an honest account of what happened during the COVID-19 outbreak. Just nine per cent feel the Chinese leadership have given a fair and accurate depiction of events.