The Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) is an independent, non-partisan research institute established in 2014 by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Chinese studies centres exist in other Australian universities. UTS:ACRI, however, is Australia’s first and only research institute devoted to studying the relationship of these countries. UTS:ACRI seeks to inform Australia’s engagement with China through research, analysis and dialogue grounded in scholarly rigour.
The ACRI Podcast is a discussion of issues in the Australia-China relationship, touching on economics, business, foreign policy, domestic politics, history and culture. It features conversations with academics, experts, businesspeople, policymakers and authors from Australia and overseas.
For more information on UTS:ACRI, visit our website: australiachinarelations.org. Follow us on Twitter @acri_uts.
ACRI Podcast theme music by Sam J Mitchell.
44. COVID-19: US-China war of words and geopolitical implications - with Xie Tao
In this episode of the UTS:ACRI Podcast’s new series delivering analysis of COVID-19 and its impacts within the context of the Australia-China relationship, UTS:ACRI Director Professor James Laurenceson is joined by Professor Xie Tao, Dean of the School of International Relations and Diplomacy at Beijing Foreign Studies University and UTS:ACRI Adjunct Professor, to discuss the potential impacts of COVID-19 on the US-China relationship, Australia’s geopolitical environment and the Australia-China relationship.
43. COVID-19: Supply-chain risks and foreign investment - with Jeffrey Wilson
In this episode of the UTS:ACRI Podcast’s new series delivering analysis of COVID-19 and its impacts within the context of the Australia-China relationship, UTS:ACRI Director Professor James Laurenceson is joined by Dr Jeffrey Wilson, Research Director at the Perth USAsia Centre and a specialist in the regional economic integration of the Indo-Pacific, to discuss the implications of COVID-19 for Australian imports, integration with global supply-chains and its foreign investment environment.
42. COVID-19: What is the Australia-China economic impact? - with James Laurenceson
As the unprecedented public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to permeate into both daily life and the broader currents of international affairs, it is clear that what began as an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in mainland China has mutated into a globalised ‘grey rhino’ event with significant second-order implications for the Australia-China relationship. In this special edition of the UTS:ACRI Podcast, UTS:ACRI Director Professor James Laurenceson discusses these implications amid concerns around the Australia-China economic relationship, which now sees exports to mainland China accounting for seven percent of Australia’s GDP.
An important piece of context is that despite political and diplomatic tensions, goods exports to mainland China in the year to January 2020 reached $150 billion. This was up 26 percent on the year to January 2019, with services exports growing by eight percent over the same period. This means that negative economic effects will be coming off a high base.
Nonetheless, there is no doubt that mainland China’s economy has been subject to significant disruption since January. While forecasting currently projects a severe contraction in the first quarter of 2020, the mainland Chinese economy is expected to recover to 4.5 percent GDP growth by December, a 1.5 percentage point decrease compared to the previous year. However, a weaker recovery cannot be ruled out, with some forecasts predicting much lower growth.
Testifying to this are official data from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government such as purchasing manager’s indexes – measures of business sentiment and activity – which hit record lows in January and February, lower than market expectations and unofficial indexes.
The impacts of this downturn are likely to be felt unevenly across sectors of Australia’s economy as the relationship between mainland China’s economic growth and its demand for imports is not 1:1. An indicative case is that of PRC visitors flows to Australia, where heterogeneity between reasons for visiting mean that while tourist visitor numbers have been almost completely curtailed, a smaller proportion of visitors coming for education are affected, with 50 percent of student visa holders from mainland China onshore by March 1.
Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen the revival of commentary arguing that Australia is economically ‘too dependent’ on the PRC. However, COVID-19 is clearly now a global shock rather than a PRC-specific one, meaning that while Australia’s exports to the mainland Chinese market will decline, so too will exports to other markets. Further, it is likely that mainland China will be the first major economy to recover, despite significant headwinds.
41. Australia-China artificial intelligence research collaboration - with Michael Zhou
An increasingly scrutinised aspect of Australia's relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is collaboration – particularly between universities – in scientific research, especially into what are deemed sensitive fields such as artificial intelligence (AI).
Artificial intelligence (AI) has in in recent years received widespread attention for its potential to transform vast swathes of the global economy and global society. While there might be many opportunities presented by the new frontiers of AI and the swift advances in the design and harnessing of its technologies, there is also great potential for such technologies to be abused and applied to undesirable ends.
The PRC’s position among global leaders in the development and uptake of such technologies means that research collaboration fittingly receives critical examination. How can Australia respond to the risks and benefits of collaborating with the PRC in AI research?
The Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS:ACRI) recently released a research paper examining this issue. One of the paper’s co-authors, Michael Zhou, a researcher at UTS:ACRI, joins Elena Collinson, senior researcher at UTS:ACRI, to discuss PRC advancements in AI, trends in Australia’s collaboration with the PRC in artificial intelligence research and the benefits and risks attached to it.
40. Nationalism and the People's Republic of China - with Rowan Callick
Nationalism has a complex history in post-Qing dynasty China, such that there are few – if any – absolutes in the conceptualisations and manifestations of its various forms. However, it has retained several distinct characteristics throughout the 20th century and early 21st century. Common premises include both pride in ‘5000 years of Chinese civilisation’ and victimhood during China’s ‘century of humiliation’ by the West and by Japan. The underlying narrative now, however, is shifting further to one rooted in pride, in parallel with China’s rise.
When one contemplates modern Chinese nationalism, what does it look like and how is it shaped and propagated? How does it manifest in the general populace and how is it harnessed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)? To what extent has nationalism, at least in the form espoused by the CCP, been correlated with or acted as a euphemism for Han ethnocentrism?
The ‘rising tide of Chinese nationalism’ is often invoked in discussions on China. To what extent does this phrase ring true?
The enmeshing of the PRC in the global order means that Chinese nationalism is likely to have some bearing on its foreign relations. But to what extent? And what does Chinese nationalism mean for Australia and its engagement with China?
Rowan Callick OBE, author, columnist and former China correspondent for The Australian and The Australian Financial Review, joins Elena Collinson, senior researcher at the Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney (UTS:ACRI) to discuss these questions and more.
39. Australia and the Belt and Road Initiative: Latest developments – with Dirk van der Kley
Conceptually defined as a program of connectivity enhancement and written into the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) charter in 2017, the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a key pillar of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) foreign policy agenda. But the BRI is the subject of strong criticism, seen as it is as Beijing’s strategy to erode the liberal rules-based order and reshape regional norms in its own favour, as well as allegations of ‘debt-trap diplomacy’. What is the driving imperative behind the BRI? What are the strategic interests underlying it and how successful has the BRI been in realising them? How has the BRI evolved over the last few years?
In Australia, the federal government’s response to the BRI thus far might be characterised as ‘cautious openness’, having expressed in-principle support for greater infrastructure development in the region and a policy of engagement on a case-by-case basis. But there are many concerns around project governance and transparency held not just by Australia, but by numerous other like-minded countries who have yet to substantively engage with the BRI. What does the BRI mean for Australia? How has Australia responded, and what should it do in the future?
The BRI also includes a technological dimension – the Digital Silk Road – that seeks to shape norms in the regulation of emerging technologies. What has been the uptake of this technological statecraft by countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands who have ‘signed up’, so to speak, to the BRI, and what might this mean for Australia? Dirk van der Kley, Program Director of Policy Research at China Matters, joins Elena Collinson, senior researcher at the Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney (UTS:ACRI), to discuss the BRI, its economic and technological dimensions and the implications for Australia. Also discussed is Australia’s response to the BRI to date, and policies Australia might consider adopting in future.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Very informative podcast about China!
Australian Universities totally compromised by CCP
Australian unis are totally reliant on Chinese student revenue and will bend over backwards to placate the CCP. This podcast is a prime example of this failure to stand up for human rights and unwillingness to speak the truth. Basically just reiterates CCP party line. Shame on you UTS... you’re embarrassing yourself.