BERLIN — A large majority of Germans thinks China bears some blame for the coronavirus pandemic and believe Beijing has been dishonest about its infection numbers, according to an opinion poll.
The online poll of 1,500 adults, carried out by London-based Redfield & Wilton Strategies on May 7, found 77 percent of respondents said China was at least somewhat to blame for the virus, widely considered to have originated in the city of Wuhan. Some 34 percent of respondents said China was significantly to blame.
Meanwhile, 74 percent said China has dishonestly reported its infection figures.
China has strongly rejected criticism of its response to the outbreak from U.S. officials and others, who have accused Beijing of being slow to inform the world about the coronavirus and expressed skepticism about Chinese infection figures.
The German government has made a summit with Chinese leaders a centerpiece of the plans for its presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of the year. The summit was due to take place in Leipzig in September but it is unclear whether it will go ahead or whether it may be replaced by a videoconference.
Just 10 percent of the survey respondents wanted closer relations to the world’s second largest economy while 33 percent favored more distance between the two countries. A total of 45 percent said they wanted to maintain relations in their current state.
The respondents broadly backed Germany’s own response to the health crisis, with more than half comfortable returning to some semblance of normal life now that restrictions are being lightly eased.
According to the survey, 68 percent of Germans reckon the government has handled the crisis well and 65 percent approve of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s own response.