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Opinion & Commentary


Opinion and Commentary contains media articles written by CIS researchers.  Communications Manager: Karla Pincott 0411 759 934

  • The East and South China seas debate Australia has to have

    30 Jul 2015 | China Spectator

    Beyond some mooted language changes on the US-Australian alliance and Japan-Australia relations, traditional foreign policy was largely left out of the discussion about Labor’s new national... Read More

  • Australia must choose between China and the US

    16 Jul 2015 | China Spectator

    The high-wire diplomatic juggling act of managing Australia’s all-important ties with China and the US has for years been the subject of a solid bipartisan consensus.   Read More

  • Beijing will beat Washington in the South China Sea’s battle of wills

    26 Jun 2015 | China Spectator

    At the opening of the seventh annual United States-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue earlier this week, US Vice-President Joe Biden launched yet another diplomatic broadside against Chinese territorial... Read More

  • Australia should stay out of the South China Sea

    04 Jun 2015 | China Spectator

    Canberra looks set to wade into the South China Sea’s turbulent waters.   Read More

  • The United States should not seek strategic primacy in Asia

    13 May 2015 | China Spectator

    The strategic sands in Asia are steadily shifting in China’s favour.   Read More

  • The real and present threat of China’s territorial claims

    25 Apr 2015 | China Spectator

    The temperature just surged a few degrees in the South China Sea’s heated territorial dispute between China and its Southeast Asian neighbours. Read More

  • Hugh White is right even when wrong

    13 Apr 2015 | China Spectator

    Foreign policy commentary in Australia can be a fratricidal business.   Read More

  • Beijing’s hypocrisy on Ukraine discredits Chinese foreign policy

    11 Feb 2015 | Business Spectator

    Last week’s three-way meeting between the Russian, Indian and Chinese foreign ministers in Beijing offered a stark lesson in diplomatic dishonesty. Read More

  • Don’t rule out war with China

    12 Jan 2015 | Business Spectator

    Canberra should offer no assurances of neutrality and should leave open the option of joining a US-supported Japanese war with China.   Read More

  • Mercantilist mindset and good fortune make successful China policy

    12 Dec 2014 | Business Spectator

    While the Abbott government trumpets its China-Australia free trade agreement win, it continues to stumble over the non-commercial aspects of China policy. Read More

  • Why Bob Carr is right about China

    12 Nov 2014 | China Spectator

    Canberra must remain ready to point out with ‘absolutely unruffled’ confidence that pursuit of Australia’s national interest will not always be synonymous with pursuit of a deeper embrace with Beijing. Read More

  • Comment: Democracy with Chinese characteristics

    10 Oct 2014 | Business Spectator

    Beyond inspiring global solidarity, the impassioned pleas for genuine democracy in Hong Kong are even converting mainland Chinese to the cause. Read More

  • How to counterbalance China's swelling military power

    09 Sep 2014 | Business Spectator

    At the peak of American power in the immediate post-Cold War period, then-US President George H.W. Bush declared the birth of a ‘new world order.’ According to Bush Senior, it would be a world in... Read More

  • Hard-headed realism needed in the South China Sea

    13 Aug 2014 | Business Spectator

    Hopes of resolving the South China Sea’s bitter territorial disputes have once again proven illusory. Read More

  • Beijing sinks South China Sea code of conduct

    21 Jul 2014 | China Spectator

    In the South China Sea, Beijing still refuses to accept the rules of conduct, preferring to bully its way to control of disputed territory. Read More

  • Beijing’s real international ambitions

    11 Jun 2014 | China Spectator

    Beijing will continue to violently revolt against Asia’s territorial status quo. Read More

  • China's Leninist impulses hold the country back

    03 Jun 2014 | ABC The Drum

    Each year the CCP summarily incarcerates and places under house arrest activists, journalists and academics it worries will "provoke unrest". Read More

  • The real threat to China’s security is internal

    12 May 2014 | China Spectator

    The CCP is failing to rise to the challenge of maintaining social stability and internal order among diverse ethnic minority provinces. Read More

  • China's rise is waking up the neighbours

    03 Apr 2014 | China Spectator

    Worryingly for Beijing, key Asian powers are banding together in a bid to contain China’s territorial and strategic ambitions. Read More

  • US military might ensures Beijing's bark is worse than its bite

    17 Mar 2014 | On Line Opinion

    Washington should continue to use its security presence in the Western Pacific to caution against and undercut Chinese attempts to alter the territorial status quo. Read More

  • Washington should not give ground in Asia

    13 Mar 2014 | China Spectator

    Will a weary Washington soon be forced to concede regional leadership to a bullish Beijing? Read More

  • China’s adaptive authoritarianism is here to stay

    18 Nov 2013 | ON LINE Opinion

    Capitalist liberal democracy’s twentieth century victories against expansionist fascism and communism were hard-won and yet also unequivocal. Read More

  • Beijing's reforms entrench a democratic deficit

    08 Nov 2013 | Business Spectator

    China’s enduring authoritarianism seems out of place at a time of explosive protest movements in Turkey, Brazil, Egypt and elsewhere in the developing world. Read More

  • Banking on China’s democratic deficit

    05 Nov 2013 | The Strategist

    The scale of China’s challenges is staggering but the CCP is well placed to tackle mounting institutional, social, political and environmental problems. Read More

  • Age of prosperity no longer a path to democracy

    31 Oct 2013 | The Drum

    Increasing prosperity will encourage minor democratic reforms, but it will only push nations a few steps down the long and arduous path to democracy. Read More

  • Nothing to fear from China's foreign policy

    08 Jul 2013 | The Canberra Times

    Chinese President Xi Jinping knows Asian stability will only help his ambitions. Read More

  • Revitalising the China story

    27 Nov 2012 | ON LINE Opinion

    China faces profound challenges that will require bold action on the part of party leaders. Read More

  • Business didn’t wait for White Paper

    09 Nov 2012 | The National Business Review

    We can expect meagre policy returns from the Asian Century White Paper. Read More

  • A cultural revolution to celebrate

    27 Oct 2012 | The Spectator

    In a very real sense, Australia is already Asian. Read More

  • Sorry, Malcolm, Australia needs the US in the Asian century

    13 Jun 2012 | The Age

    Now is the time for our friendship with America to prosper and thrive. Read More

  • Reduced defence spending may well be sound public policy

    21 May 2012 | The Canberra Times

    Australia is under US protection and the world is a more peaceful place now. Read More

  • Faith placed in Uncle Sam as neighbourhood warily welcomes China

    29 Mar 2012 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Australians have become used to thinking about the rise of China, the role of America, and what the interplay between these two powers means for us. Related Read More

  • Avoiding conflict but quietly waving flag

    21 Nov 2011 | Newcastle Herald

    Southeast Asian governments will welcome increased US involvement in the region. Read More

  • Complacency is the danger in Asia's power games

    01 Aug 2011 | The Australian

    Even if one disagrees with Wolfowitz's thinking on the Middle East, this viewpoint on China policy cannot be easily dismissed. The assistant secretary of state for east Asia and the Pacific when Ferdinand... Read More

  • Complacency is the danger in Asia's power games

    01 Aug 2011 | The Australian

    Even if one disagrees with Wolfowitz's thinking on the Middle East, this viewpoint on China policy cannot be easily dismissed. The assistant secretary of state for east Asia and the Pacific when Ferdinand... Read More

  • Pakistan a Chinese pawn to stall India

    19 Jul 2011 | The Australian

    AT the Shangri-La Dialogue meeting of defence ministers in Singapore last month, Indian Defence Minister Pallam Raju was asked whether India could exercise similar self-restraint should another terrorist... Read More

  • China’s exports don’t fuel boom

    06 Jul 2011 | The Washington Times

    While China undoubtedly needs both for the communist party to remain in power, the dilemma for the country’s leaders is that the way China achieves rapid economic growth is increasingly the reason behind... Read More

  • ASEAN must include US in talks on South China Sea

    05 Jul 2011 | The Jakarta Post

    Indonesia was positioning itself as an ‘honest broker’ in the South China Sea dispute. Now it appears much more circumspect. Read More

  • US will Remain the Preeminent Player in Asia

    01 Jul 2011 | China - US Focus

    In early May, I gave an interview to the Chinese state-run Global Times newspaper arguing that China was probably ‘the loneliest rising great power in world history’ Read More

  • Beware China's control of rare earth minerals

    27 Jun 2011 | The Wall Street Journal

    China’s rare-earth quota policies will have global repercussions. Read More

  • China and the tactical utility of international norms

    22 Jun 2011 | Australian Strategic Policy Institute

    China is finding it difficult to translate economic size into normative leadership, let alone dominance. Read More

  • Missing the woods for the trees

    21 Jun 2011 | The Hindustan Times

    China won't be happy if India becomes an Asia power. Read More

  • China's influence gap

    06 Jun 2011 | The Wall Street Journal

    Beijing is finding that translating its economic size into regional strategic and diplomatic leverage is more difficult than it first appeared. Read More

  • Japan's economic demons dog China

    24 May 2011 | Business Spectator

    The enduring flaws in Japan’s political economy’s continue to stunt its growth. Read More

  • China's self-defeating currency policy

    12 May 2011 | Business Week

    Although a stronger yuan would be better for the economy, it would hurt the Chinese Communist Party. Read More

  • China’s America Obsession:

    06 May 2011 | Foreign Policy

    Osama bin Laden’s death will only accelerate America’s reengagement with its Asian allies and partners at China’s expense. Read More

  • PM may trump Rudd in managing China

    21 Apr 2011 | The Australian

    Gillard’s lack of foreign policy experience and ambition could well be a blessing in disguise. Read More

  • The China hedge

    04 Apr 2011 | The National Interest

    Beijing’s mantra of ‘building mutual respect and trust’ remains hollow. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change since ambiguity is at the heart of China’s military grand strategy. Read More

  • Why Taiwan will fail

    01 Apr 2011 | The Wall Street Journal

    Taipei has a plan to make a virtue out of the necessity of greater integration. But Beijing will demand reunification and time is on its side. Read More

  • Cracks in ‘Great Firewall of China’

    01 Apr 2011 | The Washington Times

    A blogger’s disappearance in China reveals nervous despots. Read More

  • Good news for Chinese banks, bad news for reforms

    31 Mar 2011 | Forbes

    Beijing has been increasing the spread in Chinese banks to improve the quality of their assets. Put simply, the more money China's dominant state-owned banks lend, the greater their profits. Read More

  • Haunted by China's ghost cities

    29 Mar 2011 | Business Spectator

    If Australia thinks it can avoid the ‘Dutch disease’ by relying on the relentless construction of empty Chinese shopping malls, ghost cities and unused infrastructure, then we too could be in for a... Read More

  • Why Australia's socialist Prime Minister now loves America

    11 Mar 2011 | The Weekly Standard

    Hedging against authoritarian China by strengthening the U.S.-led hub-and-spokes security system in the region is now Australia’s preferred—and possibly only—option. Read More

  • Party needs to loosen its grip

    09 Mar 2011 | The Australian Financial Review

    The Chinese mode of governance is highly corrupt and dependent on questionable lending practices, while local wards gain revenue through unsustainable and often illegal property development enterprises. Read More

  • The problem with China’s banks – unknown and unknowable

    02 Mar 2011 | The Asian Banker

    The official accounts of China’s banks indicating reasonable financial health simply do make sense. Just as senior banking executives cannot predict what the majority of their branches will do, they... Read More

  • Watching Egypt crumble: Mideast chaos emboldens China's hard-liners

    John Lee | 04 Feb 2011 | The Washington Times

    But while many Western observers hope the unrest in Egypt might cause the CCP to think twice about maintaining its iron grip, unrest in the Middle East is bring home some very different lessons for Beijing. Read More

  • Hu's real agenda

    John Lee | 21 Jan 2011 | The Wall Street Journal

    An improvement in Sino-U.S. diplomatic relations is not the same as cooperation. Read More

  • Cooperation and the Chinese Hydra

    John Lee | 20 Jan 2011 | The National Interest

    The Chinese leader does not have the authority to make the hard decisions that Obama will be pressing him to make—meaning that doing business with China will be a lot more chaotic and unpredictable than... Read More

  • How the U.S. Can Manage Expectations of U.S.-China Talks

    John Lee | 19 Jan 2011 | Time Magazine

    Whoever is leading China is not a dominant leader with real power, but a figure riding a streak of tigers often pulling in different directions. Read More

  • Beijing’s motives behind rare-earth metals

    John Lee | 03 Jan 2011 | Forbes

    There’s a growing suspicion that China is increasingly taking a zero-sum rather than ‘win-win’ approach to open markets and free trade. Read More

  • Watch out for Russian wild card in Asia-Pacific

    John Lee | 29 Dec 2010 | The Australian

    Russia is pulling out all the stops to court India to maintain its position in Asia's future balance of power. Read More

  • People's republics

    John Lee | 23 Dec 2010 | The Hindustan Times

    By 2040, the world may be talking, not about a Washington or Beijing consensus, but a 'Mumbai Consensus' on economic development. Read More

  • China's national insecurity

    John Lee | 20 Dec 2010 | The Wall Street Journal

    Beijing sees Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Peace Prize as part of an international strategy to contain China's rise. Read More

  • China and India's Growing Energy Rivalry

    John Lee | 17 Dec 2010 | Businessweek

    Competition for oil and gas resources will be the most likely cause of serious tension between the two Asian giants in the years ahead. Read More

  • Tearing Chindia apart

    John Lee | 15 Dec 2010 | Business Spectator

    It was obvious that China and India in particular had coordinated strategies before the summit to scupper any binding agreement. Read More

  • Rudd deserves points for confronting some brutal truths

    John Lee | 06 Dec 2010 | Crikey

    The leaked conversation between Hillary Clinton and Kevin Rudd contradicts the perception that the former Australian prime minister was "soft" on China. Read More

  • What if the Chinese Bubble Bursts?

    John Lee | 01 Dec 2010 | The Interest

    If the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008 is any guide, we already know what Beijing will do in the event of a bursting of its bubble. Read More

  • U.S. envoy to ASEAN

    John Lee | 17 Nov 2010 | The Korea Herald

    A productive American relationship with ASEAN, particularly when it joins the East Asia Summit as a full member in 2011, is critical to stability in an increasingly tense region. Read More

  • In the Asian century, Washington must still offer leadership

    John Lee | 09 Nov 2010 | Crikey

    Tensions between the US and China should not present any fundamental dilemmas for Canberra since the capacity of Beijing to make Australia choose is quite weak. Read More

  • The end of the charm offensive

    John Lee | 26 Oct 2010 | Foreign Policy

    China's neighbours welcome a strong China, just not a dominant one -- and that's where the United States comes in. Read More

  • The stakes at the East Asia summit

    John Lee | 26 Oct 2010 | The Wall Street Journal Asia

    Beijing wants to ease America out of the region, but other nations want to entrench the U.S. role. Read More

  • China won't revalue the yuan

    John Lee | 24 Sep 2010 | Foreign Policy

    No amount of hectoring by Barack Obama is going to change the calculus of Chinese leaders. An undervalued currency may be critical to their very survival. Read More

  • The end of smile diplomacy?

    John Lee | 23 Sep 2010 | The National Interest

    Beneath the façade of unity in Chinese decision-making is the gradual but inexorable fragmentation in the formulation of regional strategy and the conduct of foreign policy itself. Read More

  • China-Japan tensions will rise

    John Lee | 22 Sep 2010 | Business Spectator

    Tension between China and Japan is structural, strategic and institutional – something that can only be managed rather than resolved. Read More

  • The resurrection of Kevin Rudd

    John Lee | 13 Sep 2010 | The Wall Street Journal

    The question now is whether Mr. Rudd has learned from his mistakes and will be a team player, or whether he plans to use his profile and foreign-policy experience to rebuild his leadership credentials... Read More

  • Don’t rush to back Beijing over Delhi

    John Lee | 13 Sep 2010 | The Australian

    While China's efficiency hides a brittleness, chaotic India's model is deceptively resilient. Read More

  • If only China were more like Japan

    John Lee | 01 Sep 2010 | Business Week

    China is heading toward a Japanese-style economic debacle and that the process won’t be as gradual or peaceful, says John Lee in Business Week, 1 September 2010. Read More

  • China's water grab

    John Lee | 24 Aug 2010 | Foreign Policy

    Forget the South China Sea. If America really cares about strengthening its presence in Asia, it’ll focus on the Mekong River instead, says John Lee in Foreign Policy, 24 August 2010. Read More

  • China's rise and the road to war

    John Lee | 05 Aug 2010 | The Wall Street Journal

    As with Germany a century ago, an emerging power is overestimating its capabilities, says  John Lee in The Wall Street Journal, 6 August 2010. Read More

  • Obama switching sides over China

    John Lee | 30 Jul 2010 | Weekly Standard

    There is renewed American preparedness to join with regional allies and partners in checking China’s ambition. Read More

  • Unpacking the black box

    John Lee | 30 Jul 2010 | Newsweek

    China’s dicey statistics tell us a lot, says John Lee in Newsweek, 30 July 2010. Read More

  • The uncurious case of Xue Feng’s jail sentence

    John Lee | 08 Jul 2010 | Forbes

    The geologist and U.S. citizen was charged with stealing Chinese state secrets. A case of Deja Hu? Read More

  • Hardsell soft power

    John Lee | 02 Jul 2010 | The Hindustan Times

    China dedicates considerable more resources to building ‘soft’ power than India. Read More

  • The great China tech rip-off

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 24 Jun 2010 | Business Spectator

    China's resilient economic growth has prevented the economic crisis from becoming an economic catastrophe for the world but among the dark sides of China's rising economic power is an astonishing disrespect... Read More

  • A well-timed currency kowtow

    John Lee | 21 Jun 2010 | The Wall Street Journal

    China's currency reform is meant to appease foreign politicians, not rebalance the domestic economy. Read More

  • India’s edge over China: soft power

    John Lee | 17 Jun 2010 | Business Week

    In the struggle to win support around Asia, India’s openness gives the country a big advantage compared with China, says John Lee in Business Week, 18 June 2010 Read More

  • China’s got a secret

    John Lee | 10 Jun 2010 | Foreign Policy

    China’s policy of concealment and fostering uncertainty are the main impediments to deepening its military-to-military ties with the United States. Read More

  • Opaqueness at heart of Chinese military’s U.S. strategy

    John Lee | 10 Jun 2010 | South China Morning Post

    Chinese reluctance to commit to meaningful high level military-to-military talks with America is not as much about Taiwan but a reluctance to show its perceived military weaknesses and creating ambiguity... Read More

  • Don't buy China's growth mirage

    John Lee | 24 May 2010 | Business Spectator

    Rural-to-urban migration is having less and less influence on the rising levels of fixed and asset investment activity occurring throughout China. Read More

  • EU not on China’s chessboard

    John Lee | 14 May 2010 | The Diplomat

    European nations are making a mistake courting China as to maintain relevance they need to align with the US. Read More

  • Authoritarian China won’t bow to US policy

    John Lee | 14 May 2010 | The Australian Financial Review

    Australia needs to rethink its special relationship with the US if it wants to be China’s friend. Read More

  • China will not be tamed

    John Lee | 06 May 2010 | Business Spectator

    Shaping Chinese tactics is one thing, but taming China, by attempting to determine its destiny, is another, says John Lee in the Business Spectator, 6 May 2010. Read More

  • What did Hu expect?

    John Lee | 30 Mar 2010 | Business Spectator

    Only the willfully stubborn or the ignorant will argue that Stern Hu’s admission of guilt on the charge of bribery means that concerns held about the Chinese economic legal and political environment... Read More

  • In dealing with Beijing, overambition tends to backfire

    John Lee | 26 Mar 2010 | The Australian

    Obama and Rudd are having more trouble with China than Bush and Howard. Read More

  • Inflated expectations of a rising yuan

    John Lee | 24 Mar 2010 | The Australian Financial Review

    Chinese inflation in theory can lift the currency, but don’t hold your breath. Read More

  • Why China is stepping on toes

    John Lee | 23 Mar 2010 | Business Spectator

    Foreign companies will be watching the outcome of the Stern Hu trail very carefully. Read More

  • China between T-bills and a hard place

    John Lee | 03 Mar 2010 | The Australian Financial Review

    Despite Beijing’s addiction to US bonds, the proportion of US government debt financed by Chinese foreign exchange reserves has been falling significantly since 2008. Read More

  • Perception gap

    John Lee | 01 Mar 2010 | Time magazine

    American faith in the transformative power of China's economic rise might be misplaced. Read More

  • Paper tiger: China's no threat to the US

    John Lee | 01 Mar 2010 | Business Week

    Some Chinese leaders think Beijing can use its financial clout to punish the US, but  there's little reason for the White House to worry. Read More

  • Confronting Beijing’s new bipolar reality

    John Lee | 18 Feb 2010 | The Washington Times

    America’s attempts to ‘manage’ China’s rise are failing. Read More

  • Big trouble with big China

    John Lee | 04 Feb 2010 | Foreign Policy

    Relations between Washington and Beijing are looking more tense than ever. Read More

  • Why China won’t be a ‘responsible stakeholder’

    John Lee | 02 Feb 2010 | The Wall Street Journal

    The U.S.-China bilateral relationship is the most important one in the world. But the flaws in the relationship model constructed by Washington are becoming more apparent. Read More

  • China's new Silk Road geo-strategy in Asia

    John Lee | 29 Jan 2010 | Tehran Times

    China is seeking to change the geostrategic parameters of the existing game for influence in Asia. Read More

  • Why Rudd has overstayed his welcome in Asia

    John Lee | 16 Jan 2010 | The Spectator

    John Howard had far more gravitas and influence in Australasia than Kevin Rudd, who is starting to look like he doesn’t know how to respond to China’s rise in Asia. Read More

  • China’s next generation of leaders

    John Lee | 03 Jan 2010 | The Taipei Times

    The appointment of five provincial-level Chinese Communist Party chiefs in early December is a reminder that the ascension of China’s next generation of leaders, who will take power in 2012, may be the... Read More

  • China’s intransigence is a sign of its insecurity

    John Lee | 29 Dec 2009 | The Australian

    Recent events have convinced many observers that we are entering an unprecedented era marked by rising Chinese power and influence at the expense of the West. Read More

  • China fears climate change openness

    John Lee | 23 Dec 2009 | The Guardian

    Beijing, which fears that external monitoring might reveal internal dysfunction, was backed into a corner by the United States at Copenhagen. Read More

  • Don’t overlook India’s consumer market for China’s

    John Lee | 22 Dec 2009 | BusinessWeek

    Urban consumers in India will likely drive more global business than their Chinese counterparts while India’s rural development far outpaces China’s. Read More

  • Chinese Urbanization Put on Hold

    John Lee | 19 Dec 2009 | The Korean Herald

    Beijing will gradually relax the hukou, or household registration system, to give rural Chinese citizens an opportunity to seek a better life in the city – not just speeding up the rate of poverty alleviation... Read More

  • Pacific angst

    John Lee | 11 Nov 2009 | Foreign Policy

    The very fact that America needs to negotiate with its Asian allies and partners – and sometimes even compromise – means that Washington will adapt in ways that allow it to remain the preferred security... Read More

  • China woos Africa – and not just for its resources

    John Lee | 09 Nov 2009 | Time magazine

    While much of the world still views Africa as a basket-case continent, Beijing is thinking ahead and busy establishing a foothold in Africa's potentially large consumer markets. Read More

  • Rudd fails to court New Delhi

    John Lee | 06 Nov 2009 | The Australian

    If Australia wants to remain an active, relevant and influential middle power in Asia, then spending the next half decade improving our bilateral relationship with countries such as India is much more... Read More

  • India Fast Becoming Asia's 'Swing State'

    John Lee | 04 Nov 2009 | The Korea Herald

    If India’s unpredictable political parties remain committed to continue reforms, and the bilateral partnership between Washington and New Delhi continue to deepen, a rising India (along with a still-dominant... Read More

  • China's potential enemy is US' good friend

    John Lee | 03 Nov 2009 | The New Straits Times

    If India’s unpredictable political parties remain committed to continue reforms, and the bilateral partnership between Washington and New Delhi continue to deepen, a rising India (along with a still-dominant... Read More

  • Beijing birthday spin distorts reality

    John Lee | 02 Oct 2009 | The Australian

    As the week-long celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of modern China roll on, the message coming out of Beijing is that China’s evolution into a confident, strong, just and prosperous... Read More

  • China’s statistical setback

    John Lee | 01 Oct 2009 | Forbes

    Although China has been decentralizing and officials have multiplied, it is not the building of institutions that encourages public accountability. Read More

  • The Party's Not Over: Why China's 60th birthday is nothing to celebrate

    John Lee | 28 Sep 2009 | Foreign Policy

    Inone important respect, authoritarian China is failing: while the Chinese state is rich and the party powerful, civil society is weak and the vast majority of people remain poor. Read More

  • China's Ring of Power

    John Lee | 09 Sep 2009 | Foreign Policy

    While nobody was paying attention, Beijing was busy cornering the market on a little-known, but much coveted, strategic commodity. Read More

  • Foreign Policy: Why Beijing Needs To Be Brutal

    John Lee | 06 Jul 2009 | Foreign Policy

    After scolding the West for interfering in the internal affairs of Iran, Beijing’s public relations department will now be on the defensive following riots in Urumqi, the capital of the westernmost region... Read More

  • China's Empty Land Reform

    John Lee | 04 Jul 2009 | Guardian

    Recently, Beijing announced new procedures to ‘give an effective guarantee’ to rural citizens that their land rights would be respected by ‘standardising’ arbitration procedures. This is explicit... Read More

  • Why China fears Obama: The danger of an attractive America

    John Lee | 02 Feb 2009 | The New York Times

    The enthusiasm with which Obama’s election was received in Europe will not be replicated in China. Read More

  • The Year of the Ox will bring little prosperity for the Chinese

    John Lee | 25 Jan 2009 | The Times

    Beijing's “authoritarian capitalist” model has gone as far as it can. Chaos, corruption and indecision have been ignored. Read More

  • PAP replacing PLA as the Party’s army

    John Lee | 18 Jun 2008 | China Brief

    Following the crackdown of Tibetan protesters in March, President Hu Jintao issued a call for “greater security guarantees” against protesters and other disruptive forces leading up to the August Olympic... Read More

  • China’s complicit universities

    John Lee | 09 Jun 2008 | Campus Review

    It is true that intellectuals tend to give more weight to their role in society than is generally warranted. But it is also true that intellectuals are one of the first groups targeted by authoritarian... Read More

  • Democracy’s slowboat to China getting slower

    John Lee | 01 Jun 2008 | The Gaurdian

    Around 320,000 Britons visited China in 2007. One of the world’s great cultures has finally embarked on a path towards prosperity. China is a much more comfortable and welcoming place than it has ever... Read More

  • Reassessing China’s future beyond the Beijing Olympics

    John Lee | 01 Jun 2008 | AIIA Policy Commentary

    China has averaged double digit growth each year for over three decades and its economy has grown four times in size over this period. Now the second largest economy in the world (by PPP measurement,)... Read More

  • Why China’s loyal youth no longer want democracy

    John Lee | 31 May 2008 | The Weekend Australian

    In the last two decades, China’s economy has tripled in size. The numbers of young, relatively affluent people (15–25 years) number around 17–20 million, almost the size of Australia’s population.... Read More

  • Democracy for the few

    John Lee | 31 May 2008 | The Business Spectator

    China’s transformation from the backward, autocratic economy of just three decades ago is probably the most spectacular and rapid in history. Read More

  • ‘China’s unbalanced economy providing silver lining

    John Lee | 30 May 2008 | The Age

    Chinese leaders and economists have been saying for a decade that its economy is pulled by two strong horses and one weak donkey. China is much too reliant on unsustainably high levels of (inefficient)... Read More

  • Bachelors wreaking havoc in China

    John Lee | 28 May 2008 | The Courier Mail

    China’s leaders seem to be good at fixing big problems. They have transformed a backward economy into perhaps the most dynamic one in the world. More recently, their response to the earthquake in Sichuan... Read More

  • What does China really want from the Pacific?

    John Lee | 05 Dec 2007 | Islands Business

    Why is China so interested in the Pacific? After all, despite the differences in size, population, wealth, and influence between China and islands in the region, the Chinese have literally rolled out the... Read More

  • Capital flows the wrong way in China

    John Lee | 25 Oct 2007 | The Australian Financial Review

    China has recently indicated that it intends to move away from an investment-driven growth strategy toward a consumption based one in order to sustain the next stages of its economic growth. This was reiterated... Read More

  • The danger of pursuing ‘Harmony’ in Chinese foreign policy

    John Lee | 24 Oct 2007 | The Canberra Times

    The recently concluded five-yearly congress in Beijing reaffirmed two things. First, President Hu Jintao is unchallenged as China’s supreme leader. Second, Hu’s ‘Three Harmonies’ policy will continue... Read More

  • A contrarian view of the economic miracle

    Sheila Melvin | 22 Oct 2007 | South China Morning Post

    In Will China Fail? The Limits and Contradictions of Market Socialism, author John Lee takes on the growing parade of China experts who offer optimistic scenarios for the nation’s ‘peaceful rise’... Read More

  • Will the China boom last? – don’t bet your house on it

    John Lee | 10 Oct 2007 | The West Australian

    Ask anyone in Western Australia whether China presents an economic risk or opportunity and there will be few takers for the former - and with good reason. While other major economies such as America and... Read More

  • China: Death of the Dragon?

    John Lee | 14 Nov 2006 | The New Matilda

    In his final press conference as Chinese Premier in March 2003, Zhu Rongji confidently declared that, ‘all the tasks needed to sustain economic growth over the past four years have been completed.’ Read More

  • Game of Pacific cop and dodgers

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 01 Jul 2003 | The Australian

    The Howard Government's decision to help the Solomons by restoring civil order to the South Pacific islands is welcome. Read More