149 episodes

A podcast about how the relationship between Australia and China came to the verge of collapse.

Not long ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping was regularly having warm, friendly chats with Australia’s Prime Ministers. Now, he won’t even take our phone calls, trade is being blocked, and Australian politicians are talking about preparations for war.

Season 5 of If You’re Listening is the fascinating story of why a rising superpower decided to make an example out of Australia.

China, If You're Listening ABC Podcasts

    • News
    • 4.9 • 60 Ratings

A podcast about how the relationship between Australia and China came to the verge of collapse.

Not long ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping was regularly having warm, friendly chats with Australia’s Prime Ministers. Now, he won’t even take our phone calls, trade is being blocked, and Australian politicians are talking about preparations for war.

Season 5 of If You’re Listening is the fascinating story of why a rising superpower decided to make an example out of Australia.

    CHINA | S05 06 - Are the 'drums of war' beating over Taiwan?

    CHINA | S05 06 - Are the 'drums of war' beating over Taiwan?

    For months commentators and politicians in Australia have been talking about one of the most frightening topics imaginable — a war between the United States and China over the island of Taiwan.

    It's the last frozen remnant of a hundred year old Civil War — two governments both claiming to be the legitimate rulers of China, separated by 100 miles of ocean.

    In this episode, we explain the bizarre story which led to the current tension, and look at what might happen next.

    Guests:

    Katherine Wei, Taiwan Correspondent, The Straits Times

    Malcolm Turnbull, former Australian Prime Minister

    Dr Helen Sham-ho OAM, first Chinese-born MP in an Australian parliament

    • 32 min
    CHINA | S05 05 - Chinese students: Commodity or opportunity?

    CHINA | S05 05 - Chinese students: Commodity or opportunity?

    When the COVID-19 pandemic caused the shutdown of travel from China, it shone a harsh light on the way Australia treats Chinese students who come here to study.

    Some feel isolated and discriminated against, others feel they are being treated as "cash cows" by a university sector desperate for their fees.

    Can we do better? And can we handle it when problems arise inside the bubble we have created around Chinese students?

    Guests:

    Dr Fran Martin, associate Professor & Reader in Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne

    Catriona Jackson, CEO, Universities Australia

    Yaqiu Wang, researcher, Human Rights Watch

    'Yuki', former University of Adelaide student

    Jane Poon, Australia-Hong Kong Link

    • 32 min
    CHINA | S05 04 - Huawei and the new technology cold war

    CHINA | S05 04 - Huawei and the new technology cold war

    From humble beginnings in a tiny town whose name means "deep drainage ditch", electrical engineer Ren Zhengfei grew his company Huawei into a global technology giant, delivering competitive telecommunications equipment at low prices.

    But when Australia accused Huawei of being a security risk, a snowball began to roll which led to arrests, hostages being taken, and pure white hot fury in Beijing.

    This is the story of how a decision made in the midst of a Prime Ministerial spill may lead to a new technology cold war.

    Guests:

    Sue-Lin Wong, China correspondent, The Economist and co-author of The Beijing Bureau: 25 Australian Correspondents Reporting China's Rise

    Malcolm Turnbull, former Australian Prime Minister

    • 28 min
    CHINA | S05 03 - The iron chain between Australia and China

    CHINA | S05 03 - The iron chain between Australia and China

    When China rolled out their trade sanctions regime against Australia to try and punish us for a litany of perceived insults, the trade of one commodity was conspicuously left untouched.

    China's desperate need to stimulate economic growth through construction has left them with an insatiable appetite for Australian iron ore.

    In this episode, we look at the incredible things they've built using our most valuable resource, and what might happen if they decide to stop buying it.

    Guests:

    Dinny McMahon, author of China's Great Wall of Debt: Shadow Banks, Ghost Cities, Massive Loans and the End of the Chinese Miracle

    Dr Feng Chongyi, Associate Professor in China Studies, University of Technology, Sydney

    Kevin Rudd, former Australian Prime Minister

    • 30 min
    CHINA | S05 Bonus episode - The story behind Bob Hawke’s mysterious Tiananmen Cable

    CHINA | S05 Bonus episode - The story behind Bob Hawke’s mysterious Tiananmen Cable

    In 1989, five days after tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square in Beijing and brutally ended weeks of protests, the then prime minister Bob Hawke gave a horrifying description of what Australia thought happened.

    But where did the account come from? And what did it get wrong?

    Over the past three months China, If You're Listening investigated the source of this description and found it was a previously undisclosed diplomatic cable from the Australian Embassy in Beijing, which subsequently had key details retracted.

    This is a bonus episode, produced with our friends at The Signal — a daily ABC News podcast.

    Guests:

    Blanche d'Alpuget, biographer and wife of late former prime minister Bob Hawke

    Richard Rigby, Emeritus Professor of the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra

    Craig Emerson, former advisor to Bob Hawke, and cabinet minister in the Rudd and Gillard governments

    • 17 min
    CHINA | S05 02 - How Tiananmen is being repeated in Xinjiang

    CHINA | S05 02 - How Tiananmen is being repeated in Xinjiang

    For decades Australia has taken the approach that when it comes to China; we can criticise their human rights record without risking our trading relationship.

    We told China we disapproved of their crackdown on students at Tiananmen Square in 1989, but continued to sell them iron ore.

    Xi Jinping has made it clear that the arrangement has now changed, as he simultaneously takes the lessons Beijing learned at Tiananmen, and applies them to a crackdown on Muslims in his country's far west.

    Guests:

    Rose Tang, 1989 Tiananmen Square protester

    Alim Osman, president, Uyghur Association of Victoria

    Kevin Rudd, former Australian Prime Minister

    Yaqiu Wang, researcher, Human Rights Watch

    • 37 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
60 Ratings

60 Ratings

helenanatasha ,

Just When You Thought You Knew It All

Fascinating and illuminating podcast. I binged entire three seasons in two sittings.

sam-vimes ,

Great podcast!!

I have been listening to this podcast for the last six months and found it to be insightful Cleaver witty & informative
Definitely worth a listen

blahblah2412 ,

Really interesting

Makes complex and confusing international topics easy to comprehend! I like the sound effects and background music, makes very serious topics feel more lighthearted and easier to digest. Love it and have recommended it to many friends :)

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