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. From 2014 to 2024 China Matters strived 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 Linda Jakobson’s final newsletter here.


The legacy of China Matters lives on in the China Matters-UTS:ACRI Fellowship. This initiative was established to nurture and support the next generation of Australian China-experts. Read more here.

img description Fellowship

The China Matters-UTS:ACRI Fellowship is an investment in the next generation of Australian China specialists. It is an exciting new initiative of China Matters in partnership with the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS:ACRI).

The Fellowship was established to support Australian early career researchers in the field of China Studies examining issues of particular relevance for Australia, and to provide an opportunity to undertake policy-relevant research in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The Fellowship is an opportunity for an early career Australian researcher to conduct research in the PRC with feedback and mentoring provided by UTS:ACRI under the guidance of Professor James Laurenceson, UTS:ACRI Director, and Ms Linda Jakobson, former founding director of China Matters.

Read more on how to apply 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.

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.

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.

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 China Matters-ACRI:UTS Fellowship.

Our Work

Our flagship publication,  China Matters Explores, a policy brief series started in 2017, 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. Visit our Analysis & Opinions pages for these publications as well as select opinion pieces by our supporter circle. China Matters has never had an institutional view.

Our in-person lecture series in Sydney: “Rethinking China” featured 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 were debated and policy recommendations formulated. Bilateral challenges were also discussed at 22 China policy dinners, and at China Matters in Parliament forums for elected officials.

We 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.

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