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.


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In her final policy research report, “Can Australia and China have a stable relationship?”, Ms Yun Jiang, AIIA China Matters Fellow, assesses the long-term prospects for the Australia-PRC relationship.

With the first visit to the PRC by an Australian Prime Minister since 2016, the Albanese Government has successfully stabilised the bilateral relationship in just over a year. But can this stability continue? What factors could derail it?

In her report, Yun explores the perspectives of academics and analysts in the PRC on the underlying long-term challenges for the bilateral relationship. She examines perceptions of power, the importance of emotions, and the prioritisation of national security. Taken together, these trends make maintaining a stable bilateral relationship an ambitious task.

Read the report here.

Read more about the AIIA China Matters Fellowship here.

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On 9 November, the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS:ACRI) in partnership with China Matters hosted a panel discussion with three China-watchers who have recently returned from trips to Beijing.

Panellists were Professor James Laurenceson, Director of UTS:ACRI; Ms Linda Jakobson, Founding Director and Deputy Chair of China Matters and Senior Advisor of the China Office of Finnish Industries; and Ms Yun Jiang, AIIA China Matters Fellow and UTS:ACRI Visiting Fellow. The panel was moderated by Mr Samuel Yang, co-host of China Tonight on ABC TV.

The panellists answered the questions: Where is the PRC’s foreign policy now headed? How do Australia watchers in the PRC now think about the bilateral relationship? How can Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit be judged a success? How much ballast is there in the current positive trajectory?

Video, audio, and transcript available here.

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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.

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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