50 years of Australia-China relations: Views from the envoys | WEBINAR

December 07 2022

Gough Whitlam’s Labor government established formal relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in December 1972. To reflect on how relations have fared in the 50 years since this historic event, and where they may be heading, the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS:ACRI) welcomed current and former ambassadors from both nations to mark the occasion:

- His Excellency Mr Graham Fletcher, Ambassador of Australia to the People’s Republic of China

- Dr Stephen FitzGerald AO, former Ambassador of Australia to the People’s Republic of China (1973-1976)

- Her Excellency Madame FU Ying, former Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Australia (2004-2007); Vice-Chairperson, the Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s 13th National People’s Congress (2018-2023)

- His Excellency Mr XIAO Qian, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Australia

Ambassador Graham Fletcher and Ambassador Xiao Qian provided opening remarks, before Madame Fu Ying and Dr Stephen FitzGerald delivered their addresses. Madame Fu and Dr FitzGerald were then joined in conversation by UTS:ACRI Director Professor James Laurenceson. This was followed by a moderated Q&A from pre-submitted questions to Madame Fu and Dr FitzGerald from registered attendees. 

Time: 5.00pm - 6.30pm AEDT


transcript of the event is available.


About the speakers:

Ambassador Graham Fletcher

Ambassador Graham Fletcher has been Australia's Ambassador to China since August 2019. Prior to this appointment, Mr Fletcher was head of the North Asia Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) (2008-2010, and again from 2015). Mr Fletcher has served in the Australian Embassy to China on three previous occasions: as Third Secretary (1986-1988), Counsellor (1997-2000) and Deputy Head of Mission (2004-2008). 

Dr Stephen FitzGerald AO
Dr Stephen FitzGerald began his career as a diplomat, before embarking on a distinguished career as an academic. He was China adviser to Gough Whitlam, and from 1973 to 1976 was Australia's first ambassador to the People's Republic of China. In 1980 he established the first private consultancy for Australian business and government in China. He is currently a board member of the independent public policy initiative China Matters, and an honorary fellow at the University of Sydney’s China Studies Centre.

Madame Fu Ying
Madam Fu Ying started her career with China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 1978 and had long experience in Asian and European affairs. She was appointed Ambassador to the Philippines in 1998, and Director General of Asian Department of MFA in 2000. She then was appointed Ambassador to Australia (2004-2007), and Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2007-2009). She served as Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs for European Affairs and then for Asian Affairs (2009-2013).

Fu Ying was elected deputy to China's 12th (2013) and then 13th (2018) National People's Congress (NPC). She was the Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee and spokesperson of the 12th NPC (2013-2018). She is now a Vice-Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China's 13th NPC (2018-2023).

Fu Ying also Chaired the Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS) and was appointed an adjunct professor at Tsinghua University from 2018 to 2021.

Ambassador Xiao Qian
Ambassador Xiao Qian is the current Chinese ambassador to Australia, a post which he assumed in January 2022. Previously he served as Chinese ambassador to Indonesia (2017 - 2021), and before that, Chinese ambassador to Hungary (2012 - 2015).


Event Information
December 07 2022
5:00 PM
Webinar (online-only)