The sources said that a report submitted by the Ministry of State Security early last month to senior leaders in Beijing, including President Xi Jinping, concluded that global anti-China sentiment had reached its highest level since the Tiananmen Square campaign in 1989.
As a result, Beijing is facing a wave of us-led hostile sentiment in the wake of the pandemic and needs to prepare for an armed confrontation between the two world powers in the "worst scenario," according to people familiar with the report's contents, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The report was prepared by the Chinese Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a think tank linked with the Ministry of State Security, China's largest intelligence agency.
Relations between China and the United States are widely seen as at their worst in decades, with growing mistrust and friction points due to U.S. claims of unfair trade and technological practices over disputes over Hong Kong, Taiwan and disputed territories in the South China Sea.
President Donald Trump, who is facing a tough re-election campaign after the Coronavirus killed tens of thousands of Americans and destroyed the U.S. economy, has intensified his criticism of Beijing in the recent days and threatened to impose new tariffs on China.
At the same time, officials said his administration was considering retaliatory measures against China over the outbreak.