John Lee

Adjunct Fellow

John is now Adjunct Associate Professor at the Centre for International Security Studies at Sydney University.  He is a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington as well as the CIS.  His research and analysis cover economic, social and political developments within China, Chinese foreign policy, as well as the foreign policies of the US, India, Australia and key states in Southeast Asia such as Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.  In 2007, John’s book Will China Fail? gained wide media coverage and was updated and reprinted in 2009.

He has dual Bachelor First Class Honours Degrees in Arts (Philosophy) and Laws from UNSW and a Masters and Doctorate in International Relations from University of Oxford whilst on Oxford-Chevening, Overseas Research Studies (ORS), and Oxford Fee Waiver scholarships.


Featured Publication

  • Malaysian Dilemma: The Enduring Cancer of Affirmative Action 23 February 2011
    In March 2010, Prime Minister Najib Razak announced a New Economic Model (NEM) for Malaysia. Included in the NEM were pledges to revise and wind back many of the country’s race-based affirmative action policies under the New Economic Policy (NEP).…...
    In March 2010, Prime Minister Najib Razak announced a New Economic Model (NEM) for Malaysia. Included in the NEM were pledges to revise and wind back many of the country’s race-based affirmative action policies under the New Economic Policy (NEP).…
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Media & Commentary

  • Complacency is the danger in Asia's power games 01 August 2011 | The Australian
    IN an interview given to the University of Central Florida's Global Perspectives Office in late 2010, Paul Wolfowitz summed up his response to China's rise as "hoping for the best, but preparing for the worse". Even if one disagrees with…
    IN an interview given to the University of Central Florida's Global Perspectives Office in late 2010, Paul Wolfowitz summed up his response to China's rise as "hoping for the best, but preparing for the worse". Even if one disagrees with…
    read more
  • The famous and infamous Paul Wolfowitz 29 July 2011
    Before Paul Wolfowitz became famous (or infamous, depending on your politics) for his views on the Middle East, he was a highly regarded expert on Asia. When George W. Bush became President in 2001, the administration looked to Wolfowitz and…
    Before Paul Wolfowitz became famous (or infamous, depending on your politics) for his views on the Middle East, he was a highly regarded expert on Asia. When George W. Bush became President in 2001, the administration looked to Wolfowitz and…
    read more
  • Pakistan a Chinese pawn to stall India 19 July 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 attack occur such as the one in Mumbai in November 2008. Then,…
    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 attack occur such as the one in Mumbai in November 2008. Then,…
    read more
  • China’s exports don’t fuel boom 06 July 2011 | The Washington Times
    Marking the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party last Friday, President Hu Jintao told colleagues the party’s survival depends on the twin pillars of economic growth and social stability. While China undoubtedly needs both for the party to remain…
    Marking the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party last Friday, President Hu Jintao told colleagues the party’s survival depends on the twin pillars of economic growth and social stability. While China undoubtedly needs both for the party to remain…
    read more
  • US will Remain the Preeminent Player in Asia 01 July 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’. Not aiming for hyperbole, the assessment was based on the fact that China…
    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’. Not aiming for hyperbole, the assessment was based on the fact that China…
    read more

Publications

  • After the Wall – Reflections on the Legacy of 1989 08 September 2010 | OP116
    The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 brought the Cold War to an end. It also ended a decades-long division of Europe. At an event hosted by The Centre for Independent Studies, four academics shared their recollections of the historic events and analysed their long term impacts. They…...
    The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 brought the Cold War to an end. It also ended a decades-long division of Europe. At an event hosted by The Centre for Independent Studies, four academics shared their recollections of the historic events and analysed their long term impacts. They…
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  • Unrealised Potential: India’s ‘Soft Power’ Ambition in Asia 30 June 2010 | FPA4
    This paper makes the argument that India’s enormous ‘soft power’ potential in Asia is based on the fact that a rising India (unlike China) complements rather than challenges the preferred strategic, cultural and normative regional order. The paper also argues that India’s existing ‘soft power’ is weak and continues to…...
    This paper makes the argument that India’s enormous ‘soft power’ potential in Asia is based on the fact that a rising India (unlike China) complements rather than challenges the preferred strategic, cultural and normative regional order. The paper also argues that India’s existing ‘soft power’ is weak and continues to…
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  • The Fantasy of Taming China’s Rise 05 May 2010 | FPA3
    ‘The idea that the US can manage China is failing and America, including its allies like Australia, must confront the realities of dealing with Beijing,’ says John Lee. Beijing’s behaviour has been partially tempered by its participation in a US led system, but it often behaves as a subversive participant…...
    ‘The idea that the US can manage China is failing and America, including its allies like Australia, must confront the realities of dealing with Beijing,’ says John Lee. Beijing’s behaviour has been partially tempered by its participation in a US led system, but it often behaves as a subversive participant…
    READ MORE
  • The importance of India: restoring sight to Australia’s strategic blind spot 05 November 2009 | FPA2
    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has invited leading politicians and opinion makers in the region to a conference in early December in Sydney to discuss his vision of an Asia-Pacific Community and building inclusive institutions to discuss the full spectrum of security matters in the region. Besides wanting to ensure that…...
    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has invited leading politicians and opinion makers in the region to a conference in early December in Sydney to discuss his vision of an Asia-Pacific Community and building inclusive institutions to discuss the full spectrum of security matters in the region. Besides wanting to ensure that…
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  • Why America will lead the 'Asian Century' 19 August 2009 | FPA1
    The beginning of the end of America’s strategic primacy in Asia is commonly predicted. We are supposed to be entering a China-led Asian Century but, the decline of US influence in Asia will occur far slower—if at all—than it is commonly believed. Dr Lee explains that America’s share of global…...
    The beginning of the end of America’s strategic primacy in Asia is commonly predicted. We are supposed to be entering a China-led Asian Century but, the decline of US influence in Asia will occur far slower—if at all—than it is commonly believed. Dr Lee explains that America’s share of global…
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  • Will China Fail: The Limits and Contradictions of Market Socialism 2nd Edition 28 May 2009 | PM96
    Debates about China have been overloaded by the burden of interests rather than investigation, by stiff and opinionated ideology rather than examination of the ‘engines’ of China’s economy and society. John Lee’s book breaks with these weaknesses by deftly and precisely examining the fundamental processes that shape China’s ‘economic miracle’…...
    Debates about China have been overloaded by the burden of interests rather than investigation, by stiff and opinionated ideology rather than examination of the ‘engines’ of China’s economy and society. John Lee’s book breaks with these weaknesses by deftly and precisely examining the fundamental processes that shape China’s ‘economic miracle’…
    READ MORE
  • China’s Insecurity and Search for Power 13 November 2008 | IA101
    Sir Winston Churchill once said of Russia that its future actions were ‘a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.’ The same can be said of aspects of China’s reemergence—in terms of its capabilities and more importantly of its strategic intentions. Chinese literature and history has long emphasised concealment…...
    Sir Winston Churchill once said of Russia that its future actions were ‘a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.’ The same can be said of aspects of China’s reemergence—in terms of its capabilities and more importantly of its strategic intentions. Chinese literature and history has long emphasised concealment…
    READ MORE
  • Putting Democracy in China on Hold 28 May 2008 | IA95
    China’s transformation from the backward, autocratic economy of just three decades ago is probably the most spectacular and rapid in history. It is inevitable that this extraordinary economic development will have dramatic consequences for Chinese society and politics. Most important are the rise of the middle classes and the institutionalisation…...
    China’s transformation from the backward, autocratic economy of just three decades ago is probably the most spectacular and rapid in history. It is inevitable that this extraordinary economic development will have dramatic consequences for Chinese society and politics. Most important are the rise of the middle classes and the institutionalisation…
    READ MORE