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 a diversity of 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. The China Matters Board decided to close down the organisation in mid-2024. 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 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 here.

img description Oration

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.

Dr Rudd, a leading global authority on China, discussed both the trajectory of the PRC during President Xi Jinping’s third five-year term and the implications of the PRC’s developments for Australia and the rest of the world.

Mr Peter Varghese AO, Chancellor of the University of Queensland, presented opening remarks.

Read the transcript or watch a recording of the Oration and moderated discussion here.

img description Media

Dozens of tributes to the work of China Matters were sent by supporters after the last China Matters newsletter.

“Sane and balanced analysis has been in lamentably short supply in this area, and China Matters will leave a big gap”—Gareth Evans AC, KC

“The work of China Matters has made an important difference in good times and bad, and an especially important difference in the bad”—Ross Garnaut AC

Hamish McDonald, wrote about the legacy of China Matters in Inside Story. Read it here.

For the first time Linda Jakobson speaks about the 2020 attacks on China Matters. This is a thorough piece about China Matters by Margaret Simons in The Monthly. Read here.

Our Goals

China Matters was 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 did 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 China Matters’ supporters 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 hosted eight 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.