The deteriorating situation in Myanmar has led some observers to issue warnings of a “new Syria”. The two scenarios are not without broad similarities. In mid-April, civilians in Myanmar were being killed at a higher rate than in 2011 Syria, when a crackdown on protests sparked a brutal civil
A recent report in the Sydney Morning Herald found that Australian media outlets quote the Global Times more often than they quote either China’s President Xi Jinping or members of the Chinese embassy in Canberra. This diet from a daily tabloid – viewed in the media industry as a source of
It may not have been intended, but a map deep inside last week’s federal budget papers seems to sum up the Australian government’s economic diplomacy strategy: preparing for life after China.
While it is titled “top export destinations”, arrows zoom to all major trading
The term “political science,” as many have observed, is somewhat of an oxymoron. Of all fields of scholarly pursuit, politics is comparatively ill-suited to the processes of the scientific method. Political systems and policies cannot exactly be isolated in a laboratory. The “data sets” of
Russia and China’s verbal sparring with the US over competing visions of multilateralism last week in the UN Security Council exemplified the closer ties forged over recent years between Moscow and Beijing.
The burgeoning relationship undoubtedly offers mutual advantage for both countries –
In a virtual meeting with a group of African students in late April, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asked a question, implicitly, about China: “Are they bringing their own workers with them, or are they giving jobs to people in the country where they’re making investments?”
It has long been conventional wisdom that China would struggle to become an innovative nation. China’s controlled society, with lack of freedom of speech and expression, propaganda and censorship, together with an education system that emphasises rote learning and memorisation have been judged to
Aware of China’s unprecedented economic and military rise and its ambition to become a global power, and recognising the shift in the centre of international political and economic gravity away from the Atlantic, the European Union is crafting a strategy for the Indo-Pacific, which it defines as
First it was new carbon emission cuts, and then a global minimum corporate tax. But it is hard to beat the Biden administration’s move to shaft the pharmaceutical industry lobby over vaccine patents for putting the US back at the heart of global public policy.
The devil will be in
As India grapples with an apocalyptic Covid-19 crisis at home, the Modi government put a temporary halt on its “Vaccine Maitri” (vaccine friendship) program shipping millions of vaccine doses abroad.
India had set itself an ambition to become a regional and, indeed, a global
A deadly bomb blast rocked the Serena Hotel last month in Pakistan’s south-western city of Quetta, leaving five dead and 12 critically injured. The bomb exploded just as a VIP guest and his entourage were barely five minutes away from the site. He was Nong Rong, Ambassador of the People’s
Now that the Morrison government has cancelled Victoria’s Belt and Road agreement with China, Australia is bracing for retaliation from Beijing, probably by way of further trade sanctions. When that retaliation arrives, what should Australia do about it?
There’s an old saying that “living
Diplomacy is not always diplomatic. This fact of international life was on full display during the recent meeting of top US and Chinese diplomats in Alaska. It has also frequently characterised the long-running United Nations climate negotiations – often with the same protagonists. A Chinese
During an event to launch the China Story Yearbook at the National Press Club in Canberra on 21 April, the Director of the Australian National University’s China in the World Centre, Professor Jane Golley, stated that she had received an anonymous “scholarly” article that “debunks much of
China has launched a new space station, the most ambitious project it has ever undertaken in spaceflight. Right now, the station is just a cylindrical module without a crew, but it will grow over time as more components are added. Although some media reports will cite this as China’s first space
Bhutan, the tiny kingdom situated high in the Himalayas between India and China, has emerged as an unlikely Covid-19 vaccination success story. In the fortnight between late March and mid-April, its government vaccinated 93% of its adult population, or 63% of its population of just over 750,000. By
If Xi Jinping had followed the rules, he would be stepping down next year. The longer he stays in office without an anointed successor, the greater the risk of a power struggle. Originally published in the Australian Financial Review
As China’s economic revival has given the country a global weight commensurate with its demographic scale, the choices it makes are crucial for regional and indeed global prosperity and peace. After the 1997 Asian financial crisis, for instance, the People’s Republic of China opted not to
Just months into US President Joe Biden’s term in office, his predecessor seems to be quite distant in the American public’s rear-view mirror. Banned from most major social media platforms and out of the headlines, Donald Trump – and the media circus that surrounded him – seems finally to be
Book Review: Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis, 2034: A Novel of the Next World War (Penguin 2021)
The book begins with a clash in the South China Sea – an imagined conflict, this being a work of fiction, but the authors explain having felt compelled to write because, in the tradition of
Russia’s long-serving Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shuttled between Beijing, New Delhi and Islamabad in recent weeks, putting on a diplomatic display that could be described as admirably adroit as much as it was divisive. From China and India, Lavrov fulminated against a hostile America’s
Next month brings the inauspicious one-year anniversary of China ramping up a campaign of trade punishment against Australia. Wine, barley, beef, lobster and coal have all been targeted. And there’s no end in sight.
Weary Australian government ministers could be forgiven for taking
Outside observers have all but given up hope that China will engage in meaningful state-owned enterprise (SOE) reform. There is a pervasive sense that rather than shrinking SOEs, China’s leaders are committed to increasing their prominence within the economy.
Foreign perceptions of Chinese SOEs
There is a country in Europe whose citizens can freely choose which Covid-19 vaccine they wish to receive, whether the Western-made Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca, China’s Sinopharm or Russia’s Sputnik V.
Serbia – a landlocked nation in southeast Europe – has unexpectedly became a regional
On 19 March, the leaders of four important democracies of the Indo-Pacific region – the United States, Japan, Australia and India – held (virtually) their first-ever “Quad Summit.” This meeting at the leaders’ level of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue was significant on two counts.
Tax and spend
US President Joe Biden may be grabbing the global headlines by boosting world growth with his big spending and international security with his telephone diplomacy. But US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen seems to be doing the real heavy lifting in restoring American credibility in
Beginning last May, China has hit Australia with a barrage of trade sanctions in a fairly overt attempt at economic coercion. It’s still early days, but it’s worth taking stock of what the economic impact has been so far.
The fact that China’s trade sanctions have taken place
When China’s nationalist outrage machine took aim at Swedish fashion giant H&M in late March, one could be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu. Campaigns to boycott foreign products in China are nothing new: it has been barely a year since the country went after the National Basketball
Those who’ve been reading the news in the past few weeks could be forgiven for thinking we are on the precipice of war in the Taiwan Strait. Not only do some analysts argue that this is “a phase of preparation for war”, but senior US officials are telling the media that China’s President Xi
In this episode of Lowy Institute Conversations, Director of the Southeast Asia Program Ben Bland sits down with Nathan Law to discuss exile, China’s repressive policies and the long struggle ahead for democracy in Hong Kong.
A couple of months after the inauguration of the new Biden administration, the 18 March Alaska summit provided the first big test of US-China relations. While most of the talks between senior officials were in private, tense exchanges during opening remarks suggest bilateral ties won’t fast
The joint statement issued following the weekend meeting of the four “Quad” leaders was titled “The Spirit of the Quad”. This title could be read as either self-affirmation or self-praise. The Quad’s first summit of leaders was a somewhat informal affair, held virtually amid a global
Book review: Daniel Drache, A.T. Kingsmith and Duan Qi, One Road, Many Dreams: China’s Bold Plan to Remake the Global Economy (London, Bloomsbury, 2019).
The economic fallout of the pandemic has been global, but not equal. If the often-necessary lockdowns have uniformly resulted in economic
When Norway’s central bank put Japan’s third-biggest food company on a watch list for disinvestment last week, it demonstrated that at least one thing seems to be changing in the business of coups.
Much of the conventional diplomacy surrounding the Myanmar standoff is eerily
China’s yearly National People’s Congress (NPC), which convened last week in Beijing, generated more attention than usual. Most of the headlines focused on the confab’s decisions to impose additional electoral restrictions in Hong Kong, a predictable but nonetheless dismal further
The release of the Lowy Institute’s Being Chinese in Australia: Public Opinion in Chinese Communities, based on one of the largest surveys of the Chinese-Australian community ever undertaken, shows that the events of the past year, notably Covid-19 and the deteriorating state of Australia-China
In this episode of Lowy Institute Conversations, Senior Fellow Richard McGregor sits down with Natasha Kassam and Jane Perlez to discuss new Lowy Institute research relating to the bilateral relationship between Australia and China
This article draws from the “Tibet: Colonialism with Chinese characteristics?” episode of The Little Red Podcast, which features interviews and chat celebrating China beyond the Beijing beltway.
Evolving from an organisation that almost no one had heard about five years ago, the United Front
When China began three days of military exercises in the South China Sea’s Gulf of Tonkin back in January, some observers speculated that Beijing was testing the new Biden administration. Harsh words from Beijing accompanied the exercises, with China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin
Chinese exercises in the South China Sea last month, and the strong US response, show these disputed waters will not soon be calm. While the focus has largely been on military manoeuvres, competition in legal positions has also been heating up. Last year, both the United States and Australia risked
Over the past decade, China has earned itself a reputation as a bully in the South China Sea. Its relentless coast guard patrols, frequent maritime militia operations and regular naval deployments are well documented. Using these capabilities, China harasses foreign fishing boats, disrupts energy
To break the border stand-off between India and China in the Himalayas, some Indian analysts have advocated going on the offensive against China in the Indian Ocean. But that would be vague, illogical and imprudent, with little chance of success and significant risk of blowback. Instead, India and