Why China Matters

China is important to Australia’s future. It is essential for Australia to get its relationship with the People’s Republic of China right. While public discourse in Australia on China is increasingly lively, it is critical to Australia’s future that it be better-informed. Australians know that the PRC is important to Australia, but many do not have a nuanced understanding of the reasons why nor do they fully appreciate the risks and opportunities involved in relations with the PRC.


Read ‘A New China Narrative for Australia’ 

Our Goals

China Matters is an Australian policy institute established to stimulate a realistic and nuanced discussion of the PRC among Australian business, government and the security establishment, and advance sound policy.

The goals of this high-profile and high-impact effort are to expand awareness and understanding, inform public and elite opinions, and recommend solid policy in Australia on the complexities, opportunities, and challenges of Australia’s relationship with the PRC.

This is a discrete and unique effort, different from other China undertakings in Australia in that it is independent, is not tied to any institution, and is focused exclusively from a policy perspective on the rise of the People’s Republic of China and how it matters to Australia.

We strive to support young aspiring Australian foreign policy experts through our 24-day Internship program.

Our Work

China Matters hosts regular national meetings and China policy dinners to bring together a diverse set of senior representatives from government, business and academia. We regularly engage with parliamentary representatives at our China Matters in Parliament forum. Our aim is to formulate recommendations to strengthen Australian policy toward the People’s Republic of China. Check out our Eighth National Meeting, held at Como House in Melbourne.

China Matters board directors, advisory council, associates and team members regularly publish commentary in Australian media which can be viewed on our public outreach page. China Matters does not have an institutional view.

We have our own policy brief publication China Matters Explores. This series focuses on individual tough issues in Australia’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China. Check out our latest edition, where Ms Linda Jakobson pens her views on ‘Why should Australia be concerned about rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait?’ Other policy briefs include ‘What Australia should do about its relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC)? by Mr Dave Sharma MP and Mr Tim Watts MP and ‘What should Australia do about the influence of United Front work?‘ by Dr Dirk van der Kley.

In June 2019, we published ‘A New China Narrative for Australia’, written by Ms Linda Jakobson. This was the culmination of a six-month process which included several brainstorming sessions with our supporter circle members, an event in Canberra to launch the next-to-final draft of the Narrative, and the soliciting of public commentary online.


img description Upcoming Event

China Matters is pleased to host “Rethinking China” with Linda Jaivin on 24 March at the Museum of Sydney.

Our 2021 in-person Sydney Lecture Series: Rethinking China features speakers of diverse expertise and background with the aim to inject breadth and depth into the public discussion about China.

Linda, a prolific author, essayist, cultural commentator, and literary translator, will describe how she sees the People’s Republic of China (PRC), why she sees the PRC as she does, and on that basis share her thoughts on what Australia’s approach to the PRC should be. We have also asked her to discuss the role of the propaganda in the culture and society of the PRC.

University of Sydney Associate Professor Joyce Nip will moderate the event.

The event will feature pre- and post-lecture musical performances, and COVID permitting, a drinks reception will follow the lecture.

Tickets are limited and registration is essential. Click here to register.

img description Policy Brief

In the latest China Matters Explores, Ms Linda Jakobson argues that a military attack on Taiwan is not the most likely route the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will choose to achieve unification. Rather, the more probable scenario is a strategy of ‘all means short of war’, in which the PRC would attempt to force Taiwan to the negotiation table through a mix of pressure tactics including military intimidation, disinformation operations, cyberattacks and covert actions. The United States and others, including Australia, would find it extremely hard to counter these moves. No individual action by the PRC would warrant a military response.

Australian decision makers need to make every effort to understand the complexities of the standoff over the unresolved political status of Taiwan. They will have to make difficult and rapid decisions about Australia’s responses in an ‘all means short of war’ scenario. Canberra must decide how important Taiwan is as an independent entity. Is Canberra willing to suffer retaliatory measures far greater than the current ones being meted out today by the PRC?

Read the full brief here.

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

img description Join the team

Chief Executive Officer
As head of Australia’s leading independent policy institute focused on Australia-China relations, China Matters’ CEO takes a pivotal leadership role in public debates, policy discussions, and identifying and addressing the challenges and opportunities of Australia’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

We have engaged Ian Hansen & Associates, an experienced executive search consultancy, to conduct the search for a CEO. Interested candidates should contact Ian Hansen at <[email protected]> to receive the candidate information document.

Full details here.

Senior Policy Analyst
Be a key part of a team dedicated to conducting and disseminating high-quality policy-relevant research. The Senior Policy Analyst will assess political-economic decisions and regulatory developments in the PRC as well as the Australia-PRC relationship; deliver briefings and background reports; and identify new policy relevant research focuses. Mandarin reading skills essential.

Full details here.

Our Key Supporters

We are grateful to our supporters 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 project, please contact us.

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