Exploring Philippines’ Views of China: Revisiting Prof. Baviera’s Observations in 2018

Shigeto Sonoda
Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo

Vol. 15 (2021): 133–148 | Download PDF


In 2018, Professor Aileen Baviera wrote that the Filipinos’ low trust toward China is caused by the “concern over the territorial disputes in general, and over the possibility of conflict in relation to Scarborough Shoal more specifically” (2018, p. 80). Analyzing opinion poll data collected by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in the country, as well as opinions of different interest groups in the Philippines, she also mentioned that Beijing’s assertiveness has divided Filipinos’ views on China.

Taking a statistical approach, this paper will revisit these observations using longitudinal data of the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Survey and the Asian Student Survey. Using these data sets, it considers whether Filipinos’ security threat perception toward China is indeed the cause of their worsening views on, and split in public opinion towards, Beijing. The analysis supports Professor Baviera’s observations, arguing that views on China are most divided in Asian countries which have territorial disputes with, and thus higher security threat perception of, Beijing.


Views of China, Philippines, security threat perception, Asian Student Survey