Why China Matters

China is important to Australia’s future. It is essential for Australia to get its relationship with the People’s Republic of China right. While public discourse in Australia on China is increasingly lively, it is critical to Australia’s future that it be better-informed. Australians know that the PRC is important to Australia, but many do not have a nuanced understanding of the reasons why nor do they fully appreciate the risks and opportunities involved in relations with the PRC.

 

Read ‘A New China Narrative for Australia’ 

Our Goals

China Matters is an Australian policy institute established to stimulate a realistic and nuanced discussion of the PRC among Australian business, government and the security establishment, and advance sound policy.

The goals of this high-profile and high-impact effort are to expand awareness and understanding, inform public and elite opinions, and recommend solid policy in Australia on the complexities, opportunities, and challenges of Australia’s relationship with the PRC.

This is a discrete and unique effort, different from other China undertakings in Australia in that it is independent, is not tied to any institution, and is focused exclusively from a policy perspective on the rise of the People’s Republic of China and how it matters to Australia.

We strive to support young aspiring Australian foreign policy experts through our 24-day Internship program.

Our Work

China Matters hosts regular national meetings and China policy dinners to bring together a diverse set of senior representatives from government, business and academia. We regularly engage with parliamentary representatives at our China Matters in Parliament forum. Our aim is to formulate recommendations to strengthen Australian policy toward the People’s Republic of China. Check out our Eighth National Meeting, held at Como House in Melbourne.

China Matters board directors, advisory council and team members regularly publish commentary in Australian media which can be viewed on our public outreach page. China Matters does not have an institutional view.

We have our own policy brief publication China Matters Explores. This series focuses on individual tough issues in Australia’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China. Check out our latest edition, ‘What should Australia do about the influence of United Front work?‘ by Dr Dirk van der Kley. Other policy briefs include ‘What should Australia do about PRC nationalists?’ by Ms Yun Jiang. In June 2019, we published ‘A New China Narrative for Australia’, written by Ms Linda Jakobson. This was the culmination of a six-month process which included several brainstorming sessions with our supporter circle members, an event in Canberra to launch the next-to-final draft of the Narrative, and the soliciting of public commentary online.

Latest

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China Matters board director, Professor Allan Gyngell argues that Biden’s presidential win is not a return to the world we knew but one which requires engagement with China on multilateral issues. “In that situation,” Gyngell writes, “the absence of high-level Australian contacts will become more marked.” Advisory Council member, Professor Hugh White examines the strategic challenges faced by the US in East Asia.

In these challenging times, former Australian Ambassador to China and China Matters Associate, Dr Geoff Raby says that Australia must strategically use diplomacy in protecting its national interests and security. China Matters’ founding director, Ms Linda Jakobson writes that McCarthyism is now rampant in Australia. She warns that “overzealous Australians are undermining the pillars and credibility of a democratic and multicultural society”.

Read these and other op-eds by supporter circle members here.

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In the latest China Matters Explores policy brief, Dr Dirk van der Kley argues that United Front work and the Communist Party of China (CPC) have failed to persuade Australian elites and have been unsuccessful in shaping the Australian public debate or federal government policy in favour of the CPC. Australia should focus on combatting the part of United Front work which most harms Australia’s national interest – the intimidation and silencing of individuals who want to criticise the CPC.

To do this Australia needs a Foreign Interference Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission to provide an up-to-date picture of foreign interference in Australia.

Dr Dirk van der Kley is Program Director – Policy Research at China Matters.

Read the brief here.

China Matters does not have an institutional view; the views expressed here are the author’s.

img description POLICY BRIEF

In this edition of China Matters Explores, Yun Jiang, co-author of the China Neican -newsletter, writes that people of Chinese heritage face immense pressure when publicly commenting about the People’s Republic of China (PRC). PRC nationalists sometimes intimidate those who speak against the PRC. At the same time, media reporting and expert commentary on PRC nationalism in Australia have made it harder for people of Chinese heritage to speak positively about the PRC, for fear of being labelled brainwashed.

Ms Jiang recommends that universities take tough action to punish students who harass or intimidate others. Universities should also provide mandatory civic education courses for all students focusing on freedom of speech, freedom of the press, academic freedom and foreign interference laws.

Read the brief here.

China Matters does not have an institutional view; the views expressed here are the author’s.

Our Key Supporters

We are grateful to our supporters for making possible the research, publication, and outreach work of China Matters. We would like to do more. If you share our goals and would like to contribute financial support to our project, please contact us.

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