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I don't think it is justified..
..although to be honest I really don't know how widespread any mistrust is outside the circles of media, politicians and special interest groups.|
Most ordinary folks probably only have a vague concept of China, one that is informed by the media certainly, but one that is fairly ignorant. Much like the Chinese concept of Western countries is. We're a long way from each other and quite frankly, most of us have concerns enough locally to spare a thought for places thousands of miles away. That will of course change in time.
I think the problem for the media, politicians and special interest groups is the narrative that they have decided upon for China. It's a narrative that was probably formed during the Cold War when the West was at loggerhaeds with the Soviet Union. China being a Communist country obviously fell onto the side of the Soviets and other Eastern European countries under Communism.
As the 'free' West prospered, those countries under Communism struggled even though they would put on great displays of military strength, send men into space, etc. They also oppressed their own people, with those deemed a nuisance to the state disappearing, being sent to gulags, imprisoned without trial or even murdered. Such things really don't happen in the West and as 'free' peoples, it engenders horror that a state can weild that much power and terror over it's own helpless people. Authoritarian rule really and once you've overthrown your own feudal lords, kings and emporers, you tend to view those nations still under authoritarian rule with distrust if not contempt
The people under Communist rule were seen as dowdy, grey, miserable, restricted, unthinking, fearful, oppressed, deprived. As time progressed and the queues for food grew in Russia we knew they were hungry too, while we had food aplenty. When it came to material goods, there was no contest.
All of these things I think feed into the narrative that the West holds true for China. Mao, Cultural Revolution, that Square thing, the mao suits, the same bloody haircuts. The narrative is conformity to the authortarian rule or else and er...that's about it.
I don't know if it's lying, or just a case of a lack of imagination coupled with a lack of access to find out otherwise which continually feeds itself.