Canada, once a hot travel destination among Chinese people, has become China’s least favorite country, according to a recent survey from state-run Global Times.
The poll, conducted by the Global Times Research Center with market survey firm DATA100, gathered 2,148 responses across 16 Chinese cities from Dec. 10-15, 2021.
The survey showed Canada at the bottom of the ranking, with only 0.4% of respondents saying they like the North American country.
Singapore, on the other hand, received a positive response from 14% of participants, emerging at the top of the list, alongside China itself. The two most popular countries were followed by Germany, France, the U.S., Russia and Maldives.
Singapore was also the country Chinese people said they would like to visit the most (17.1%), followed by Maldives and France. Previous data gathered since 2018 reportedly showed that the island city-state did not even crack the top six up until now.
Japan, which ranked No. 1 in 2019 and 2020, fell to sixth place in 2021.
The poll results reflect ongoing tensions between Ottawa and Beijing. On Dec. 25, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Western countries to stand united against China, claiming that the East Asian state has been “playing” them against each other.
“We’ve been competing, and China has been from time to time very cleverly playing us off each other in an open market competitive way,” Trudeau told Global News. “We need to do a better job of working together and standing strong so that China can’t, you know, play the angles and divide us one against the other.”
Canadians also seem to feel similarly about the Chinese. A survey by Research Co. and Glacier Media found that 68% of Canadians have an unfavorable opinion of China.
Canada and China’s relationship began to sour in 2018 with the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition warrant. In an apparent retaliation, the “Two Michaels” – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – were detained in China on national security charges.
In September 2021, Meng reached a deal with U.S. prosecutors, and Kovrig and Spavor were subsequently released.
In early December, Canada also joined the U.S. and other Western allies in declaring a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics. The stance was taken in protest of China’s alleged human rights abuses, most notably in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
“We are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government,” Trudeau told reporters, according to Politico. “I don’t think the decision by Canada or by many other countries to choose to not send diplomatic representation to the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics is going to come as a surprise to China. We have been very clear over the past many years of our deep concerns around human rights violations.”
Shortly after, the Chinese Embassy in Canada responded to the move, calling it a purely political show, according to the Global Times.