Journal of Australia-China Affairs 2014
Foreword by Professor Kerry Brown
It is a great pleasure to be able to furnish this year’s Journal with a Foreword. 2013 was the first time that the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and the Australia-China Youth Association collaborated on the Journal, and it is excellent to see how it has grown and developed even in the space of a year. The number of entries this year, and their overall quality, is a testament to the fascination that China now has for people in Australia from a variety of different intellectual communities, and the manifold ways in which subjects related to China can be addressed and treated.
For all that diversity, this edition of the Journal has a strong Australia-China theme, whether analysing the role of specific regional Chinese communities as they emigrated to Australia over the last century and a half on the political and cultural life of Australia, or looking at more global, contemporary issues like China’s overseas investment or its energy needs, within a regional context.
In 2014, Australia had perhaps the closest it has ever come to a `China epiphany’—the state visit by President Xi Jinping in November was perhaps the crucial moment here, letting far more Australians than ever before listen, for the first time directly on home ground, to the words of the Chinese leader, hearing some of the things he and his colleagues thought about Australia and what their aspirations towards the two countries were. Xi stated, when speaking in Parliament in Canberra on 17 November, that he wished to see a more imaginative and innovative relationship. Imagination and innovation are certainly strong features of the different kinds of essays, whether in English or Chinese, contained in this Journal.
In this new context of deeper, more expansive mutual engagement, Chinese students, Chinese investment, Chinese capital and Chinese politics all relate to the current life of Australia and to its future. Australian ideas, sentiments and experiences of China are no longer an exotic pastime for a minority but becoming part of the mainstream in Australian education, business and public affairs. For all of these issues, ideas matter. The authors in this collection show how those ideas can be shaped, formulated and presented.
These essays also testify to the expertise and sustained engagement that exists in Australia on Sino-Australian issues. The work of the Australia-China Youth Association, through this Journal, and through its events and other activities, is critically important, as the country moves deeper into a century which looks to be increasingly shaped by issues relating to China, rather than the more nebulous concept of Asia. It will be a challenging period. But that young scholars and professionals can produce research to such high standards, excellently presented and argued, is a cause for optimism.
I hope that readers of this volume will be as impressed as I by the quality of the contributions, their diversity and their depth, and that they will support the work of Australia’s young in thinking about the future with China, learning from the past experiences between the two nations and forging a new kind of dialogue.
Former Director, China Studies Centre
University of Sydney