Australia–China relations - Wikipedia
Malcolm Turnbull says media makes China-Australia relations look bad . Bishop credited China for its role putting pressure on North Korea to. Australia's relationship with China is not in crisis, but no-one would blame you for thinking that. While Beijing is putting pressure on Australia. Australia to bury hatchet with China – in fence between Beijing and Washington Reset in ties between China and Australia will benefit both sides.
After the Federation of Australia, the Chinese community's need for an official voice in Australia increased due to the push for the White Australia Policy and anti-Chinese sentiment following the enactment of the Immigration Restriction Act in Australia. Reflecting the political debate in China, Chinese Australians had by formed branches of the Chinese Empire Reform Association to press for reform in China.
Mei Quong Tarthad for years been favoured as the first Chinese Consul-General by the Chinese community, the European consular corps, as well as the Australian Prime Minister, but he died in before the Consulate-General had been set up.
Instead, the first Consul-General was Liang Lan-hsun, an imperial official and experienced diplomat. However, the consul's attention was focused on trade relations, not discrimination against Chinese migrants.
On 1 Januarythe Republic of China replaced the Qing empire. The Consulate-General immediately set about mobilising the Chinese community in support of the new government, collecting funds and sending delegates to elect overseas Chinese deputies in the new Chinese parliament. Different political factions in China found support in Australia: A relaxation in Australia's racial exclusion laws led to broader people-to-people interactions. ByChinese students were arriving in Australia to study in that year alone.
- Time to panic?
- Navigation menu
- Beijing takes Australia to task
An Australian trade commissioner was briefly stationed in China in In the mids, conflict between China and Britain surrounding the Canton—Hong Kong strike created tensions between China and Australia as a dominion of Britain as well. Following the Northern Expedition in China, greater political unity within China bolstered the Chinese Consulate-General's confidence in criticising Australian laws that discriminated against the Chinese; they were supported domestically by a resolution at the ruling Kuomintang's Third National Conference in Australian rules against Chinese residents and visitors were relaxed in response, including making it easier for Chinese nationals to visit or study in Australia.
The Consulate-General was reorganised and moved to Sydney, with sub-consulates opened in other key cities. Various Chinese officials visited Australia. As a mark of respect, he was given a seat on the floor of the House of Representatives. Frederic Egglestonwho previously headed the Commonwealth Grants Commissionwas appointed the first minister to China in ChongqingChina's war-time capital, while Hsu Modeputy foreign minister, was appointed the first minister to Australia.
The United Kingdom proposed in that Britain, Australia and New Zealand should simultaneously recognise the new government. However, the Australian and New Zealand governments were concerned about electoral repercussions at a time when Communism was becoming a more topical issues, and did not do so immediately.
Although Ben Chifley 's Labor government preferred to be realistic about the new Chinese government and would have supported its admission to the United Nations,  it lost the election. The British government went ahead with the recognition of the PRC alone inbut the United States withheld recognition.
However, fromAustralia refused to accept ambassadors from the ROC,[ citation needed ] and for many years Australia did not send an ambassador to Taiwan.
From as early asthe Australian government's Department of External Affairs was recommending the recognition of the PRC, but this advice was not politically accepted. While the Labor Party 's official policy from was that Australia should follow the examples of Britain and France in recognising the PRC, on the basis that the ROC was unlikely to recover the mainland,  the Liberal Party-led Coalition played up the perceived threat of a Communist China for electoral advantage, including the support of the anti-Communist Democratic Labor Party.
Australia needs to reset the relationship with China and stay cool
As part of this political strategy, Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt explicitly recognised the continuing legitimacy of the ROC government in Taiwan inby sending an ambassador to Taipei for the first time. As opposition leader, Gough Whitlam visited China in before Henry Kissinger 's historic visit on behalf of the United Statesand in Decemberafter Whitlam's victory in that year's federal election, Australia established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, and Australia ceased to recognise the Republic of China government of Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan.
The establishment of relations with "Red China" roused great excitement in Australia. Since the Chinese economic reforms initiated by the late Deng XiaopingChina has benefited from significant investment in China by Australian companies for example, future Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had set up the first Sino-foreign joint venture mining company in China inwhile Australia has benefited from the Chinese appetite for natural resources to modernise its economy, infrastructure and meet its growing energy demands.
From information currently available, it seems unlikely that Jiang's authority will be challenged in the immediate future and even less likely that there would be any serious discussion of returning to the economic policies of the past. On the issue of economic policy, Jiang has recently been associated with a 'neo-conservative' approach designed to dampen the effects of popular resentment about corruption, crime, unemployment and the continuing underdevelopment of interior regions.
These negative aspects of the growth of recent years have come to be identified with the freewheeling economic policies of 'Dengism', but it is significant that while attempting to tackle such problems, Jiang's leadership has never suggested that there would be any reversal of the fundamentals of Deng's economic strategy.
Rather there has been an effort largely successful to bring the economy to a 'soft landing' after a period of overheating and the resultant high inflation which eroded many people's incomes. Beijing has also attempted to direct a portion of new investment into the interior to facilitate more even development. As far as the leadership is concerned, there seems little doubt that Jiang Zemin is in firm control and has strengthened his position in recent years. Jiang has sponsored a range of proteges into influential posts in the Party, government and military and has established himself 'at the core' of a collective leadership.
This allows him to act as a broker in the event of conflicting views between the conservative and moderates in the Party. Jiang has also made efforts to build up a body of thought in the tradition of 'Mao Zedong Thought' and 'Deng Xiaoping Thought'.
Focusing on the need to reaffirm cultural and family values as well as the drive for prosperity, Jiang's ideas are designed not only to heighten his own stature but to reinforce the idea of the Party as a moral and political leader of the Chinese people. Jiang's efforts to reinforce his political and ideological position is important in the lead-up to the 15th Party conference to be held in October where he will wish to cement and formalise his dominant role.
Jiang's main weakness is that he does not have the military background which could reinforce his support within the politically powerful People's Liberation Army. On the other hand, any other likely contenders for power, principally Prime Minister Li Peng, have the same disadvantage. Li Peng also suffers from his strong popular identification with the suppression of the pro-democracy demonstrations in June It should be stressed that even if factional divisions were to emerge in coming months or years, the terms of debate would not be about the basics of economic philosophy such as those which marked the transition from Mao's rule to that of Deng Xiaoping.
The great legacy of Deng's incumbency is the hegemony of an economic strategy based on opening China to the world market and greatly reducing the role of bureaucratic planning and direction in the allocation of resources for investment. The paradox which Deng also bestowed on his successors, however, is that while expanding wealth has provided new strength for the regime after the chaos of the Mao years, social change and social problems accompanying this growth have shown their potential to undermine support for the Party.
Jiang's Zemin's efforts to restore the Party's legitimacy and ideological leadership are unlikely to see it return to the position it held during the post-revolutionary years. With social discontent in the cities and growing dissatisfaction in the interior, particularly amongst ethnic minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang, the Party may have to rely increasingly on the Army to assert its control.
Introduction Relations with China are one of the most important aspects of Australia's foreign policy. As an emerging great power in our region with whom Australia is developing a major economic relationship, good relations with China will become an increasingly prominent feature of Australia's international interests. But maintaining good relations with China is also one of the most difficult challenges for Australian policymakers. The recurring friction in Australia-China relations which marked much of was a sign of the sensitive nature of dealing with China and a good indicator of the range of issues which can arise in managing the relationship.
Problems began to emerge in when China criticised Australia's policy on China and Taiwan which it perceived was becoming too closely tied with US policy and which it interpreted as throwing doubts on Australia's commitment to a one-China policy. This perception grew out of the new Australian Government's quick expressions of support for US actions in response to China's military exercises in the Taiwan Straits during the March Taiwanese presidential election, as well as the upgrading of Australia's defence ties with the US in July China also criticised the visit to Taiwan by the Primary Industries Minister, Mr Anderson, and the discussion about the possibility of Australia selling uranium to Taiwan.
Adding to the ill-feeling was the decision by the Australian Government, in Aprilto cut part of Australia's aid program to China. Concerned to prevent any further deterioration in relations, Mr Howard moved, in Novemberto reassure the Chinese Government that Australia had not altered its China policy following the election of a Coalition Government.
He took the opportunity of the APEC summit in Manila to meet with the Chinese President, Ziang Zemin, to discuss the issues which had placed a cloud over the relationship between the two countries.
The meeting was reportedly very successful and the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying: The Chinese Government attaches importance to the statements of the Australian Coalition Government on placing emphasis on Sino-Australian relations, adhering to a one-China policy [and] being against containment We would like to develop a long, stable relationship with Australia on the basis of mutual respect, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, and seeking common ground while reserving our differences.
Following the meeting with the Chinese President, some observers suggested that the problems affecting Sino-Australian relations had been overcome. Certainly, the meeting between the two leaders, together with other contacts at ministerial and official level during the final months ofhelped reduce misunderstandings which had developed in Beijing about the direction of Australian policy. The whole affair, however, underscored the inherently touchy nature of the relationship with China.
Despite the apparent passing of tensions, Australia's relations with China will continue to have potential for friction for many years into the future. This paper outlines the recent problems in Sino-Australian relations and the light they shed on the challenges which confront Australian policymakers.
It provides a background against which to understand the development of Australia-China relations and discusses the nature of sensitivities in the relationship in the context of China's relations with the United States and the country's recent economic growth and political problems. Australia-China Relations in Retrospect Australia's relations with China and Chinese at a non-government level have been controversial for most of Australia's European history.
Anti-Chinese feeling, occasionally erupting into violence, was a feature of Australian goldfields from the s and a desire to prevent Chinese immigration was one of the first motivations for the White Australia policy instituted after Federation in At an official level, Australia-China relations were, from their foundation during WWII until recently, dominated by the concerns of wider strategic relationships. InChina under the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek became one of the first countries with which Australia established independent diplomatic relations.
This relationship was established in the context of China's struggle against Japan rather than because of any significant commercial or political links between the two countries.
It was not untilhowever, that Prime Minister Harold Holt sent an ambassador to Taiwan to seal Australia's recognition of the Chiang Kai-shek regime as the sole legitimate government of China. By that time the question of the recognition of China had become a major political controversy in Australia and became linked to the issue of the Vietnam War and perceptions of China as a threat to Australia's security and sponsor of communist subversion throughout Southeast Asia.
Despite hostile political relations, Australia nevertheless continued to trade with mainland China, especially with major sales of wheat. The situation changed dramatically at the beginning of the s with the change of government in Australia and changes in US policies on China. One of the first acts of the newly-elected Labor Government in was to recognise the PRC as the sole government of China.
Fraying Australia and China relations face testing times in Canberra
This laid the foundations for rapid growth of diplomatic, cultural and economic links between Australia and China under both the Whitlam and Fraser Governments.
These developments were facilitated by China's efforts to strengthen its ties with the West as a whole, firstly to find allies against the Soviet Union and, following policy changes into boost China's economic growth by opening up to the world economy.
From the early s Australia's dealings with China began to move away from a preoccupation with global strategic issues and to concentrate on regional issues and bilateral economic links.
In political terms, the 'special relationship' which Prime Minister Hawke considered had developed between Australia and China came to an abrupt end, however, with the violent suppression of the pro-democracy movement in Beijing in June Concerns about human rights abuses in China ensured that diplomatic relations between Australia and China were frosty for over a year, including a ban on ministerial visits until early Nevertheless, the importance of the commercial links which had grown up between Australia and China in the preceding decade meant that there was little possibility of relations returning to the kind of enmity and suspicion which had characterised the pre period.
Trade and investment between the two countries were unaffected, and the Australian Government emphasised that Australia 'remain[ed] committed to a long-term cooperative relationship with China'. The focus of the Keating Government on deepening links with the countries of Asia meant that particular attention was given to the relationship with China.
At the same time the government was sensitive to continuing domestic and international concerns about China's human rights record and emphasised that relations were maintained with a 'realistic, business-like approach' rather than with the ideas of a 'special relationship' which had marked the pre period. Prime Minister Keating conducted a successful visit to China in Junewith an emphasis on trade and investment.
A Year of Friction Following the election of the Howard Government in MarchAustralia-China relations encountered serious problems as the Chinese Government began to react to what it saw as change in the direction of Australian policy on China.
China had expressed concerned about Australia's increasing contacts with Taiwan duringbut the problems reached a new level in The Chinese perception was fuelled by a number of actions by the Australian Government which Beijing interpreted as together forming a shift away from a previously supportive stance on China towards a position more closely tied with US interests and less friendly to China.
The issues over which the misunderstandings developed were an indication of the sensitive nature of the Australia-China relationship and the degree to which the relationship is directly linked to the health of China's relations with the United States.
One China or Two? In March Taiwan held its first fully democratic presidential election. The Chinese Government, in an effort to reassert its continuing claim to sovereignty over Taiwan and to influence Taiwanese electors not to vote for pro-independence candidates, began a demonstrative series of missile tests in the Taiwan Straits.
In response, the US Government moved two aircraft carrier groups into the area to monitor the tests and to affirm its interest in the security of Taiwan. One of the first foreign policy actions by the new Coalition Government after its election in March was to call in the Chinese Ambassador to express its concern about the mounting tensions between China and Taiwan. The new Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Alexander Downer, also welcomed the US decision to move warships into the Straits as a sign of US commitment to the security of the East Asian region, as 'demonstrating [US] interest in participating in regional security issues in a very practical way'.
Chinese Government representatives did not make any particular public response to the position of the government, but subsequent events suggest that they took note of Australia's quick support for the US and began to look for further signs that policy in Canberra was changing with the new government, in particular that Australia was moving away from its 'one China' policy. China began to register great sensitivity to Australian dealings with the government in Taipei.
In July, the Mayors of Beijing and Shenzhen declined to attend an Asian cities' conference held in Brisbane in protest against the attendance of the Mayor of Taipei, Mr Chen Shui-bian, a leading figure in the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.
Mr Downer had issued a statement saying that the federal government had no objection to a visit by Mr Chen. Funded as part of Australia's overseas aid program, the scheme had been controversial for some time and the government decided to abolish it as part of efforts to reduce budget expenditure.
The Chinese Ambassador said the move would: We hope that the Australian Government will follow internationally accepted practices and continue to support the projects in the pipeline All these projects have been committed by the two governments. If they are not to be carried out, then it won't be in line with international practices.
But it has also been suggested that the Chinese were particularly concerned that the cancellation of DIFF funding was part of a wider campaign by Western countries to restrict the flow of development assistance to China. Australia's cancellation of projects in China financed through soft loans may have strengthened fears in Beijing that Australian foreign policy was taking on a new pro-US and anti-China character.
The 'Claws of a Crab'? Part of the foreign policy agenda of the new Coalition Government was to re-emphasise Australia's security relationship with the US. At the AUSMIN talks the two countries signed a new security declaration and agreed to expand the range of joint exercises, including regular participation by US personnel on Australian soil.
Chinese reaction to the development came quickly and stridently, in the form of a commentary in the official People's Daily. From this we can see that the United States is really thinking about using these two 'anchors' as the craws of a crab The recent moves by the US in Australia show that the Cold War thought process has not changed much in the minds of some people, who still hope to play the role of the global policeman. Whereas the previous Labor Government paid more attention to building bilateral security relations, the new government has repeatedly emphasised the importance of its traditional allies.
Using the metaphors beloved of Chinese commentary, the article compared Australia to a bat which gave its allegiance to the mammals when they triumphed, but showed its wings and declared itself a bird when the birds were victorious.
What countries have seen instead are aid cuts to Asia and speeches by the MP, Pauline Hanson, full of anti-Asian and anti-immigration sentiment. As soon as it was announced that the Buddhist leader and symbol of the Tibetan independence struggle would be visiting Australia, the Chinese Government began protesting against any suggestion that the Dalai Lama would meet the Prime Minister or any senior Australian Government figure. When the Prime Minister said he would indeed meet the Dalai Lama, the People's Daily launched a particularly strident attack on the Australian government: The statement repeated the warning that the decision would 'unavoidably produce a negative impact on relations between China and Australia'.
Nevertheless, senior members of previous Australian governments and parliament had held meetings with the Dalai Lama without the vituperation which marked their reaction to Mr Howard's meeting. The Chinese have always opposed such meetings but their response on this occasion was at a new level. It is quite unusual for Australian foreign policy to be subject to a repeated critique in the Chinese press.
The View from Beijing The change in the character of Chinese statements about Australia needs to be understood as the product of a general perception in Beijing that Australian policy was being redefined under a Coalition Government.
A number of individual actions without a united objective in mind were interpreted by the Chinese authorities as a co-ordinated policy response. The Australian Government did not appear to appreciate the extent to which Beijing would read a single coherent meaning into the actions.
The view from Beijing was that Australia under a Coalition Government was becoming less sympathetic to the Chinese position on highly sensitive issues such as Taiwan and Tibet and was moving to re-emphasise traditional especially US relationships at the expense of Asian connections. Of particular disquiet from Beijing's point of view, Australia's renewed stress on the importance of the US alliance was seen as a return to a less independent foreign policy which would conform more closely to US interests.
This was regarded with particular concern at a time when China-US relations were being affected by a number of disagreements. Dealing with an Emerging Great Power Following the efforts of senior Australian Government officials and the meeting between the Australian Prime Minister and Chinese President in Manila in Novemberthe government of China brought an end to the hostile public critique of Australian policy.
A Chinese presidential spokesman was reported as describing the Howard-Ziang meeting as 'very friendly': One meeting cannot resolve all the problems, but the two leaders have reached a common understanding to overcome our difficulties and keep better relations in the future.
This is the beginning of another stage; that we should keep the momentum going. His comments indicate that the Chinese Government has a generally positive attitude towards the prospects for Sino-Australian relations. Politically and militarily, China and Australia pose no threat to each other. Economically, the two countries complement each other. Furthermore, there are many opportunities for Australia and China to cooperate with each other in international and particularly regional issues.
He said the difficulties in were due to the Australian government taking 'some actions which ended up hurting the national feelings of the Chinese people'. As long as the two countries respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, bilateral relations will continue to develop and the potential for cooperation between the two sides will be enhanced. Although Australia's relations with China have undergone a qualitative change during the last decade and are no longer framed in predominantly geopolitical terms, the Chinese leadership still conducts all its international affairs with broader regional and global implications in mind.
Containment, Engagement and Australia-China Relations Chinese perceptions of how it is regarded in international affairs are still strongly influenced by suspicions that the US and to some extent Japan and other Western powers harbour a desire to prevent China from taking its place amongst the major players on the world stage.
Chinese officials look back on a history in which China saw itself as the 'Middle Kingdom' to which the rest of the world paid tribute, followed by a hundred years of humiliation and incursions into its sovereignty by foreigners. When the Chinese people 'stood up', as Mao put it inand embarked on a new effort to rebuild their country, the US instituted a policy of 'containment' which the Chinese Government considered was an attempt to keep China weak and isolated.