Australia-China relations: The view from China - with Diane Hu

Guest: Diane Hu, Assistant Professor, Australian Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University

Host: James Laurenceson, Deputy Director, Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI), University of Technology Sydney

Over the last 12 months, the Australia-China relationship has faced significant challenges. Amidst discussion of China’s sharp power and debate over Chinese Communist Party and Chinese government influence in Australia, there have been suggestions that students from the People's Republic of China represent a threat to academic freedom and freedom of expression. Some commentators have argued that the relationship is at a decade low.

What do Chinese scholars specialising in the bilateral relationship think about recent tensions? What are the possible short- and long-term effects? What can the Australian and Chinese governments do to alleviate these tensions?

Diane Hu joins James Laurenceson to provide a Chinese perspective on the current state of Australia-China relations.

Australia-China relations have not necessarily reached a ‘decade low’. Major rifts in diplomatic relations usually occur because of the ‘snowballing’ of several events, rather than individual incidents. However, if both governments do not take measures to alleviate tensions, such as the initiation of high-level dialogue, relations are likely to deteriorate further. Accounts of alleged spying on Australian campuses by Chinese students, or their close connections to the Chinese Communist Party, are largely based on individual experiences, and do not necessarily reflect the overall situation.

The Chinese government has responded negatively to the Australian government’s proposed foreign interference measures, not so much because of the measures themselves, but the rhetoric surrounding their introduction, which has appeared to target China.

Theme music by Sam J Mitchell.

February 15 2018