Inaugural Study Tour
4-7 September 2018
Beijing, People's Republic of China
The insights gained into broader Chinese civil society and private citizens on this trip are invaluable. I have travelled to the People’s Republic of China on official business in the past but this trip with China Matters gives a completely different perspective. The Australia-China bilateral relationship is an important one. Just as China Matters promises a useful public policy contribution to the discussion and debate about the relationship, so the China Matters study tour will provide a very valuable perspective for policy makers.
- The Hon Chris Bowen MP
Shadow Treasurer, Member for McMahon
The China Matters study tour helped deepen my understanding of the People’s Republic of China. The drivers of the middle class Chinese people we met and the economic analysis we received from experts presented a broader picture of China from the one presented in media reports. China faces a series of difficulties – a slowing economy, tenseness in its relations and a possible trade war with the USA, and some dissatisfaction with the direction of domestic policy by middle class people. The China Matters study tour did not feed us “a line”. It was not propaganda. It was a critical appraisal of China, its challenges, its future. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate.
- Mr Julian Leeser MP
Member for Berowra
Developing a deeper understanding of the PRC should be on the minds of business and government leaders alike. The China Matters study tour provided a unique insight into the views of the Chinese middle-class about their domestic politics, the economy and their relationships with other countries, including Australia. The conversation throughout was open, direct and thought provoking making this an immensely valuable experience.
- Mr Andrew Parker
Partner and Asia Practice Leader, PwC Australia
What do middle-class citizens in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) think of the developments in their society? What about their views of their country’s international image and foreign policy? How do top PRC experts evaluate the state of the PRC economy? These are questions discussed during China Matters’ inaugural ‘PRC Study Tour’ last week in Beijing.
A key objective of China Matters is to help elected officials in Australia better understand the rise of the PRC and the complexities of the Australia-China relationship. This inaugural study tour was one of many activities China Matters has undertaken to fulfil this goal.
China Matters was established to advance sound China policy and improve communication on sticky policy issues between senior public officials, Members of Parliament and business executives. True to this goal, the participants of the inaugural three-day study tour (4-7 September) included The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Mr Julian Leeser MP, and Mr Andrew Parker, Partner and Asia Practice leader at PwC Australia, and a Board Director of China Matters. The group was led by China Matters Founding Director and CEO, Ms Linda Jakobson. China Matters funded the travel expenses of both parliamentarians.
The study tour was an unofficial visit. Over the course of three days the group met informally with mostly people Linda Jakobson knew and had numerous interactions with during the 22 years she worked and lived in the PRC.
The China Matters study tour project had the endorsement of Dr Martin Parkinson, Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; H.E. Ms Jan Adams, Australia’s Ambassador to the PRC; and H.E. Mr Cheng Jingye, the PRC’s Ambassador to Australia.
This inaugural study tour was a trial. Six to twelve participants will be included in future study tours. An equal number of politicians from both major parties will be joined by senior business executives.
Over the course of three days the group gained an in-depth understanding of the thoughts and aspirations of middle-class PRC citizens, how they view their society, the challenges ahead, and the PRC’s international role. See their full agenda here.