China Matters Team

China Matters Ltd
ABN 19601328018
China Matters is registered as a charity under the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC).

China Matters is an independent organisation that strives to advance sound China policy. We are unique in Australia. We engage business executives, public servants, politicians, and university leaders about challenging policy choices in the Australia-China relationship. We generate public debate about Australia’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China, which aims to inject nuance and realism into discussions. On the basis of solid China expertise and Chinese-language sources, we research problematic policy issues with the goal of formulating recommendations and providing analysis on how these policy challenges are viewed in Beijing.

China Matters does not have an institutional view.


  • Michael Clifton - CEO

    Michael Clifton


    Michael assumed the role of CEO of China Matters in March 2020. He has enjoyed a diverse and varied career including almost 20 years in trade and defence appointments across Asia and the Middle East.

    A graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Michael served in the Australian Army for 20 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant colonel. He subsequently served a further 20 years with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission until his retirement from the Australian Public Service in December 2018. He is President of the Australia-China Business Council, NSW.

    Michael’s career highlights include almost six years as head of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission’s network in China and assignments in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Osaka.  He has served as a Departmental Liaison Officer and adviser to the Minister for Trade, and Chief of Staff to a senior Cabinet Minister.

    Michael speaks Chinese and Japanese, and holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of New South Wales.

  • Dirk van der Kley - Program Director - Policy Research

    Dirk van der Kley


    Dirk is Program Director – Policy Research at China Matters. His most recent work has been at the Australian National University, where his doctoral thesis focussed on PRC economic statecraft. He recently returned from two years’ fieldwork in China and Central Asia on an Endeavour Scholarship. Previously Dirk worked as a Research Associate at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. Dirk is fluent in Mandarin. He wrote his Honours thesis at University of Sydney in Chinese.

  • Jeremy Stevens - CFO/COO

    Jeremy Stevens


    Jeremy Stevens is CFO/COO at China Matters. He holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Adelaide and a Master of International Relations from the University of Sydney. Mr Stevens has 12 years’ experience in Banking and Finance, including four years as a senior treasury and risk management advisor at two local Chinese banks. His research interests include the global impact of China’s growing economic power and developments in international financial and security organisations.

  • Gabrielle Burgess - Policy Assistant

    Gabrielle Burgess


    Gabrielle is a Policy Assistant at China Matters. She is also the Co-founding Director of the Culture Bridge Institute, a think tank examining cross-cultural issues in Australia. Previously, Gabrielle was a research assistant at UN Women in Beijing and has interned with UNHCR’s legal protection team and with the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Beijing. She has completed a year-long exchange at Peking University studying Chinese foreign policy and Mandarin language courses. Gabrielle holds a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Studies from the Australian National University.

  • Baopu He - Junior Fellow

    Baopu He

    Junior Fellow

    Baopu He is a fifth year student at the University of Sydney studying a Bachelor of Arts, where he majored in Japanese, and a Bachelor of Laws. Besides English and Mandarin, Baopu also has full professional proficiency in Japanese, having spent a year studying Japanese literature, language and politics at Waseda University before joining China Matters. He has previously worked as an editor at Honi Soit, the University of Sydney’s student newspaper, and for Sydney Speaks, an Australian Research Council project conducted by the ANU on multiculturalism and diversity in Australian English.

  • Brian Xu - Junior Fellow

    Brian Xu

    Junior Fellow

    Brian is finishing a Bachelor of Engineering and a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Sydney, majoring in Aeronautical Engineering and Economics. He is a fluent Mandarin speaker, having studied in Tianjin and Beijing for six years, and has previously worked as a translator for the Chinese science and technology publication Guokr, as a GRE tutor for Chinese students, and as a consulting engineer. Brian developed his interest in international and China affairs through Model United Nations, and his main areas of interest are China’s military development and defence policy.