Australia-China: reflections and projections

February 25 2021

This was a hybrid in-person/livestreamed event. Please note that social distancing requirements and other health precautions were in place, as per New South Wales Government rules and restrictions.

Emptied of high-level ministerial contact, 2020 saw Australia’s official ties with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) appearing to plunge to their lowest ebb arguably since 1972. Many dimensions of the bilateral relationship – political, economic, people-to-people – were roiled by turbulence. As we enter 2021, each country appears to be locking in behind a firm stance with respect to the other.

The Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS:ACRI) hosted a panel discussion in which participants reflected on the impact that developments in the bilateral relationship had in 2020, including on Australia’s own Chinese communities, and discuss the challenges that lie ahead.

Panellists included Richard Maude, Executive Director Policy at Asia Society Australia and Senior Fellow at Asia Society Policy Institute; Michael Smith, China correspondent for The Australian Financial Review; and Wanning Sun, Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UTS.

The panel was moderated by UTS:ACRI Director Professor James Laurenceson.

Time: 6.00pm - 7.30pm


About the panellists:

Richard Maude

Mr. Maude joined The Asia Society Australia in January 2020 as the inaugural Executive Director, Policy, and Senior Fellow for the Asia Society Policy Institute.

In his previous role, he served as Deputy Secretary of the Indo-Pacific Group, in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His portfolio covered Australia’s bilateral relations with partners in Asia and North America, as well as Australia’s regional political, security, economic and development assistance interests.

In 2017, Mr. Maude was head of the whole-of-government taskforce which supported the preparation of the Australian Government’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.

Previous to undertaking his role in the preparation of the Foreign Policy White Paper, Mr. Maude was Director-General of the Office of National Assessments from May 2013 until November 2016. Furthermore, Mr. Maude has worked extensively on international security and Indo Pacific affairs as a career foreign service officer in Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and has served overseas in Malaysia, Singapore and Washington DC.

He holds a first class honors degree in politics from the University of Adelaide and a Master of Arts (International Relations) from the Australian National University.

Michael Smith

Michael Smith is the China correspondent for The Australian Financial Review. Michael has more than twenty-five years experience as a journalist and editor with newspapers and wire agencies in Australia, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, specialising in business and politics. His roles have included chief political correspondent in Hong Kong during the lead up to the 1997 handover to China, news editor, chief of staff, and senior writer/columnist with The Australian Financial Review. He has also held positions at Thomson Reuters, the Australian Associated Press and the Hong Kong Standard newspaper.

Professor Wanning Sun

Wanning Sun is a UTS:ACRI Advisory Board member and a Professor of Media and Communication in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UTS. She is a specialist in a number of areas, including Chinese media and cultural studies; rural-to-urban migration and social change in contemporary China; and soft power, public diplomacy and diasporic Chinese media. She is the author of three single-authored monographs: Leaving China: Media, Migration, and Transnational Imagination (2002); Maid in China: Media, Morality, and the Cultural Politics of Boundaries (2009); and Subaltern China: Rural Migrants, Media, and Cultural Practices (2014). Two of her edited volumes—Media and the Chinese Diaspora: Community, Communication and Commerce (2006) and Media and Communication in the Chinese Diaspora: Rethinking Transnationalism (2016)—document the history and development of Chinese language media in Australia, North America, Europe, Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia.

Event Gallery


Event Information
February 25 2021
6:00 PM
In-person and livestream
UTS Great Hall Tower Building
15 Broadway
Ultimo NSW 2007