HUGH WHITE, AC GRAYLING, LINDA JAIVIN, LUIGI TOMBA
Published 7 June 2011 | Sydney Writers’ Festival
Culture and Society /
Since World War II, Australia has effectively been the "51st state", taking our economic, cultural and political cues from America. But, with our ever increasing reliance on Chinese cash and trade, will we soon become the little cousin of the Red Imperial Order? What might this mean for Australia, and for our own version of democracy and human rights?
In 1972, the bilateral trade between China and Australia equalled roughly $100 million. By 2006, it had reached $33 billion. China is now, by most calculations, Australia’s largest trading partner and second largest export market. We’re dependent on them economically, but our cultural, social and political values are very different. So how can this relationship work?
At the 2011 Sydney Writers Festival, the "G’day China!" panel featured three very different speakers. Defence analyst, Hugh White, outlines the military and strategic negotiations that need to take place for a peaceful transition to the new alliance. Novelist, translator and sinologist, Linda Jaivin, optimistically draws on her extensive experience in China to forecast the cultural challenges and possibilities ahead, while British philosopher, AC Grayling, encourages us to keep a vigilant eye on China’s human rights record.
Ironically, the fourth speaker, Chinese author Liao Yiwu, was not given "permission" to travel from China to Sydney for the event and was instead represented on stage by an empty chair. Political Scientist, Luigi Tomba, chairs the event.
Hugh White is Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University and a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute. He is has been an intelligence analyst with the Office of National Assessments, a senior advisor to former Defence Minister Kim Beazley and Prime Minister Bob Hawke and is the author of the Quarterly Essay, "Power Shift: Australia’s Future between Washington and Beijing".
AC Grayling is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is a best-selling author whose books include "Thinking of Answers", "Liberty in the Age of Terror", "Toward the Light of Liberty" and most recently, "The Good Book".
Linda Jaivin is an internationally published novelist, translator, cultural commentator and specialist writer on China. Her novels include the comic-erotic bestseller "Eat Me", "A Most Immoral Woman", and her China memoir, "The Monkey and the Dragon", which details an intimate portrait of Chinese writer and 2010 Nobel Peace Laureate, Liu Xiaobo.
Luigi Tomba is a political scientist with the Australian Centre on China in the World at ANU. He is Co-Editor of "The China Journal", the notable academic publication on contemporary China