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.


Read about the new AIIA China Matters Fellowship


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“Over the past decade, and without any serious discussion, Australian governments have come to believe that America should go to war with China if necessary to preserve US primacy in Asia, and that Australia should, as a matter of course, go to war with it.”

In the latest Quarterly Essay, China Matters Advisory Council member ANU Professor Hugh White writes on the challenges facing the United States in Asia and the dangers for Australia in blindly following it into conflict.

You can find the essay here and listen to Professor White being interviewed on the topic here.

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

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China Matters was pleased to host “Rethinking China” with Yun Jiang on 5 May at PwC Australia.

Yun, the inaugural AIIA China Matters Fellow, described how she sees China, why she sees China the way she does, and on that basis shared her thoughts on what Australia’s approach to the PRC should be.

In conversation with Yun was author, journalist and host of the ABC’s China Tonight program Stan Grant.

China Matters thanks PwC for their generous support of this event.

Watch a recording and see photos of the event here.


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China Matters Board Director Stephen FitzGerald writes on how the new government can develop a more realistic, nuanced and sophisticated China policy. Read it here.

Founding Director Linda Jakobson and ANU professors, Advisory Council Member Hugh White and Associate Brendan Taylor, have all contributed to the Taiwan-focused 14th edition of Australian Foreign Affairs. Read Linda’s article here and find the full issue here.

Read more from our supporter circle here.

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

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].

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