Time to get tougher with the PRC?

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s increasingly hardline rule at home and growing assertiveness abroad show few signs of moderating despite recent pushback. If anything, Beijing is becoming more uncompromising — whether it be over the Uighurs in Xinjiang and protests in Hong Kong, or in the South China Sea as its military power grows.

Meanwhile, Australian attitudes towards the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) are hardening. Protests have broken out over Confucius Institutes on university campuses, and there have even been calls to nationalise the Darwin port leased to a Chinese company a few years ago.

But can Australia afford to get tougher with China? One in three of our export dollars are earned in Chinese markets and further economic opportunities beckon. Or should the question be: can we afford not to get tougher with the PRC, as the divergence between our values and security interests grows starker?

Join human rights advocate and CIS scholar-in-residence Anastasia Lin, chairman of Vantage Asia Holdings and China Matters advisory board member Jason Yat-sen Li, and CIS adjunct scholar and Sydney University political sociologist Salvatore Babones for a discussion of these issues and more. The discussion will be moderated by Sue Windybank, convenor of the CIS China and Free Societies program.