AIIA China Matters Fellowship

China’s Antarctic ambitions and their implications for Australia

In her first policy research report Yun Jiang looks at concerns that the Antarctic ambitions of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) go beyond just scientific research and fishing. She argues that fears that Beijing wants to exploit Antarctica’s mineral and fossil energy resources, militarise the continent and even make its own territorial claims, are overblown.

The PRC favours maintaining the Antarctic Treaty, as does Australia. Rather than take an adversarial approach to the PRC in Antarctic matters, Yun argues that there are opportunities for the new Labor government to cooperate with Beijing in less sensitive areas of scientific research, such as climate change, and logistics.

Read the full report here.

To launch the report La Trobe Asia, in partnership with China Matters and the Australian Institute of International Affairs, hosted an online panel discussion on the topic of the PRC’s ambitions in Antarctica. Joining Yun on the panel were Dr Nengye Liu from Singapore Management University and Mr Richard Maude from the Asia Society Policy Institute. Professor Nick Bisley from La Trobe University moderated the event. Watch a recording of the event below.


The inaugural AIIA China Matters Fellow is Ms Yun Jiang.

Ms Jiang was the co-founder and former editor of the newsletter China Neican, and a managing editor of the China Story blog. She has published and been cited widely on China-related topics, with a focus on Australia’s policies on the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

She is a former researcher in geoeconomics at the Australian National University and a former policy adviser in the Australian Government, having worked in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Treasury and the Department of Defence. Her policy experience covers economics, national security, and foreign policy.

Read the media release here. Read FAQ here.

The AIIA China Matters Fellowship is an investment in the next generation of Australian China specialists. The Fellow, appointed for a two-year term, will publish well-researched and publicly accessible reports on developments in the PRC which are especially relevant to Australia. She will regularly publish opinion pieces in mainstream media and contribute in other ways to the public debate about the PRC and Australia-China relations.

The Fellowship is funded entirely by donations from Australian citizens and from wholly Australian-owned and -controlled companies or foundations. For a list of founding donors and supporters click here.

Recent Activities


Interest, Values and the Rules-Based Order

Australian Institute of International Affairs NSW, 23 August 2022

Report launch: panel discussion

China’s Antarctic ambitions and their implications for Australia

La Trobe Asia in collaboration with China Matters and the Australian Institute of International Affairs, 3 August 2022


Australia’s concerns about China’s Antarctic activities are overblown

Australian Financial Review, 5 August 2022

As tensions rise over Taiwan, Antarctica could provide opportunities for co-operation
and a way for Canberra to stabilise the relationship.

Policy Research Report

China’s Antarctic ambitions and their implications for Australia

An in-depth analysis of China’s activities, policies and ambitions in Antarctica and what they mean for Australia.


Labor government still has some big challenges with China

The Canberra Times, 28 June 2022

“[W]hile the new government recognises the complexity and challenges in the bilateral relationship, it has also emphasised that “Australia values a productive relationship with China””


Lockdowns spark signs of defiance among China’s restless youth

The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 June 2022

The COVID lockdowns have only increased uncertainty and pressure for young Chinese.”

Previous Activities

Podcast: Getting China-Australia relations out of a rut (Ear to Asia, 22 June 2022)

Op-ed: As the world sanctions Russia, China takes note (East Asia Forum, 30 May 2022)

Op-ed: Rejuvenating DFAT: increasing diversity and becoming less insular (The Interpreter, 24 May 2022)

Book chapter: Xinjiang: Sanctions, Boycotts, and Counterboycotts (The China Story Yearbook, May 2022)

Event: Rethinking China with Yun Jiang (5 May 2022)

Op-ed: Common enemies and instinctive friends (The Interpreter, 15 March 2022)