Why China Matters

China is important to Australia. It is essential for Australia to get its relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) right. China Matters strives to inject alternative views to mainstream public commentary about Australia-China relations, deepen Australia’s understanding of developments in the PRC, and thereby strengthen Australia’s capacity to develop more effective policies toward the PRC.


A tribute to China Matters board director Allan Gyngell from Linda Jakobson

Happier days: Board directors Michael Wesley (from left), Allan Gyngell, Andrew Michelmore, Liam Forde, Stephen FitzGerald and Jan Adams relaxing after a board meeting held at the China Matters office in Pyrmont, September 2018.


img description Tribute

Allan Gyngell, AO, who – among many things – was China Matters board director passed away on 2 May 2023.

China Matters Founding Director and Deputy Chair, Ms Linda Jakobson, penned a tribute to her colleague and friend which you can read here.

Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) National Executive Director, Dr Bryce Wakefield, wrote Farewell to Allan Gyngell, Beloved Leader, Mentor, and Friend. Read more here.

In the Australian Financial Review, Mr James Curran wrote A man of quiet wisdom who bore witness to Australia’s foreign policy. Read more here.

In the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter, Mr Daniel Flitton wrote Remembering Allan Gyngell, “the finest mind in Australian foreign policy”. Read more here.

img description Publications

In a recent op-ed in the East Asia Forum, Ms Yun Jiang, AIIA China Matters Fellow, argues that Australia’s China illiteracy has dangerous consequences. Read more here.

In her second policy research report, Ms Yun Jiang,  assesses efforts by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to encourage the return of PRC-born scientists from abroad. Yun Jiang argues that many top scientists are reluctant to return because of domestic policies in the PRC. At the same time, scientists of Chinese heritage in the United States face greater scrutiny and suspicion. Australia has an opportunity to attract some of this top scientific talent caught between the two countries.

Read the report here. Read other publications by AIIA China Matters Fellow here.

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

img description Event

China Matters and the University of Queensland were pleased to host the inaugural China Matters Oration, delivered in-person by the Hon Dr Kevin Rudd AC in Brisbane on 15 February 2023.

Watch a recording of the event here.

Read the written China Matters Oration text here and the text of the moderated discussion between Dr Kevin Rudd and Ms Linda Jakobson here.

Read the introductory remarks by Mr Peter Varghese AO here and quotes from the Oration here.

Mr Peter Varghese AO, Chancellor of the University of Queensland, presented opening remarks. Ms Linda Jakobson, Founding Director of China Matters, moderated the event.

Our Goals

China Matters is an Australian policy institute, established in 2014 to inform public and elite opinions and recommend solid Australian policy on the complexities of Australia’s relationship with the PRC. We have done this by publishing policy briefs and reports, promoting opinion pieces; bringing together senior policy makers, business executives and university leaders to contemplate policy recommendations; and offering elected officials an opportunity to learn more about the PRC.

Looking ahead China Matters’ analysis will continue to focus on specific PRC policies and the consequences of China’s rise. The ongoing goal of our public outreach work will be to contribute nuance and realism into discussions about Australia-China relations and inject alternative views into the public narrative about the PRC, which support a pragmatic relationship with the PRC while protecting Australia’s interests.

Investing in the future

Australia needs strong China expertise. Until Covid-19, China Matters ran a unique Young Professionals Program for under 35-year olds, targeting public servants and corporate employees. We also ran a popular Internship Program: a total of 29 young Australians contemplating a career related to international affairs and China received hands-on training and guidance during a 24-day internship in a small vibrant team. Looking ahead we are investing in the future generation of Australian China experts via the AIIA China Matters Fellowship.

Our Work

Our flagship publication,  China Matters Explores, a policy brief series started in 2017, has contributed to the public debate on individual tough issues in Australia’s relationship with the PRC. The recommendations of another impactful China Matters publication, ‘A New China Narrative for Australia’ (2019), are still relevant, despite a deterioration in Australia-China relations. Visit our Analysis & Opinions pages for these publications as well as select opinion pieces by our supporter circle. China Matters does not have an institutional view.

Our in-person lecture series in Sydney: “Rethinking China” features speakers of diverse expertise and background with the aim to inject breadth and depth into the public discussion about the PRC.

Since 2015 China Matters has hosted nine closed-door National Meetings for senior representatives from government, business and academia. At these meetings tough issues related to the PRC have been debated and policy recommendations formulated. Bilateral challenges have also been discussed at 22 China policy dinners, often bringing together a Federal Government department head with senior business executives and university leaders, and at China Matters in Parliament forums for elected officials.

We have also organised two China Study Tours to help elected officials and business leaders better understand the rise of the PRC and the complexities of the Australia-PRC relationship.

Our Key Partners

We are grateful to our partners 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 work, please email us at [email protected].

  • partner logo
  • partner logo
  • partner logo