Plenary Session Two
Is there freedom of speech in the Australia-China discussion?
For Australia, the spectacular rise of China has meant the opportunity for a rewarding trade partnership. However, there are risks and uncertainties. For the first time in Australia’s history, our most important economic relationship is with a state very different in values and politics.
In recent times, there have been attacks on Beijing over China’s alleged interference in Canberra politics and the role of overseas Chinese students in promoting a Chinese Communist Party-doctored image of their homeland in Australian universities. Meanwhile, anxieties are growing about China’s geo-political rise: some strategists fear that Beijing wants to push the Americans out of East Asia, much like the US pushed the European powers out of the Western hemisphere in the 19th century.
Are claims of China’s interference in Australian affairs overstated? How are our leaders protecting Australia’s sovereignty and democratic values? What issues do we face with our security, media, government and education? Can we afford to be tougher with China? And how do we reconcile relations between our most important trade partner and our most important security ally?
Chinese Canadian human rights advocate
Dr Alan Dupont
Founder and CEO, Cognoscenti Group
Dr Geoff Raby AO
Australia’s Ambassador to China from 2007 to 2011, Chairman & CEO of Geoff Raby and Associates Ltd based in Beijing
Director of China and free societies program, CIS