Asia & US: What are our China fears? Debt? Hackers?, VA. At the U.S. Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command, sailors analyze, detect and defensively respond to unauthorized activity within Navy information systems and computer networks. Photo by Corey Lewis for the U.S. Navy, released for public use via Wikimedia Commons.CHINA is now the #2 economy in the world, surpassing Japan, and it may surpass the US in a decade. There are few places in China where growth is more obvious than the Pudong district of Shanghai. Shanghai is now the largest city by population in the world, and Pudong is the financial center of the nation. I can attest to the magnificence of the renowned Pudong skyline.

At the same time I was there, however, The New York Times reported on a military-controlled cyber warfare unit in a Shanghai office building. Reportedly, this unit has hacked into many American institutions, stolen commercial secrets, and has the ability to disrupt infrastructure and US government institutions.

Is China a major threat?

Over half of Americans (52%) say China’s emergence as a world power is a major threat to the US, according to a Pew survey. This is an unusual survey because Pew also polled experts in foreign affairs about their opinions. While almost half of retired military (46%) also see China as a major threat, other experts disagree. Only a third (31%) of government experts believe China is a major threat to the US, and even fewer in business, news media, and academic are worried.

Are cyber attacks the main concern? It depends on who you ask. Experts are much more likely than the general public to say that Chinese cyber attacks are a grave problem, according to a new Pew analysis. In fact, cyber attacks are at the top of the list for each of the five expert groups surveyed by Pew: retired military, business, scholars, government, and news media. Only 50% of the general public are similarly worried.

So, what worries Americans about China? Mainly three things: the large amount of U.S. debt held by China, the loss of jobs to China, and the trade deficit with China. Experts are much less worried about these three.

Do you see China as a major threat to US interests?

Are you worried about Chinese cyber snooping?

Are you more worried about debt, jobs, and trade?

Please, leave a Comment below.

Originally published at, an experiment in civil dialogue about American values.

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