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Transcript 17243

Australia and China in the World 70th Morrison Lecture Australian National University Canberra

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 23/04/2010

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 17243

I acknowledge the First Australians on whose land we meet and whose cultures we celebrate as among the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

Last year I had the privilege of spending time with Alastair Morrison, not long before his death. Alastair was 93 years old, the last surviving son of Morrison of Peking, after whom this significant lecture is named. It was a singular privilege for me to have spent just a little time sharing Alastair's family memories - a unique human connection linking the tumultuous events of the late-Qing Empire to the rise of modern China.

For students of history, the world of Morrison's Peking seems exotic and remote. Whereas in truth, we are separated from that world by the span of just one lifetime - albeit, in Alastair's case, a long and well-lived life.

Alastair in fact asked if I would deliver a Morrison Lecture. I said I it would be an honour.

And so today I am delighted to be able to present this, the 70th George E. Morrison Lecture.

George Morrison was a man surrounded by controversy. But no-one, not even his greatest detractors, could deny his deep knowledge of China and his fascination with this ancient and continuing civilisation. Morrison was one of a kind. Nonetheless, the truth is he is little known in contemporary Australia.

My view is that, 90 years after his death, it is time for that to change.

Morrison is one of the most remarkable Australians in our early national history to enliven the world stage. And it is fitting that he is remembered by this, one of the earliest and oldest lecture series in this young country of ours.

Throughout its long history this lecture series has addressed many aspects of China's past and present. In recent years, presenters have wrestled with what has now become one of the truly great questions facing our contemporary age - the re-emergence, the rise and future global role of modern China.

C.P. FitzGerald, the noted historian of China, who established what was then the Department of Far Eastern History at the Australian National University, wrote of Morrison in the following terms:

"a man of unusual percipience and thus freer than many of his contemporaries from the prevailing dominant ideas. He, almost alone, could see beneath the dry bones of the dying Manchu Empire the stirring of fresh life, of a new, probably unintelligible and almost certainly disconcerting China, but yet a continuation of the life of that great nation into a new period of vigorous activity."

In 1935, delivering only the 5th Morrison Lecture, the noted physician Wu Lien-teh, a Malay of Chinese descent, remarked that in the person of Morrison there was a:

"blending of...qualities seldom encountered in a single individual... a physician, a journalist, a traveller, an author, a book collector and a humanist all combined."

In his travels, his sense of adventure, his curiosity for understanding and knowledge, George E. Morrison was an Australian one-off. He travelled relentlessly. Between his school and university studies, he walked from Geelong to Adelaide.

At the age of 20, he trekked from Normanton in Queensland, just south of the Gulf of Carpentaria, all the way to Melbourne - a journey of almost 3,300 km, covered without horse or camel. Besides his travels to China, Morrison ventured deep into New Guinea, studied medicine in Scotland, and travelled widely in the United States, the West Indies and Morocco. He came close to death on many occasions, and even had the rare honour of reading his own obituary in The Times, after erroneous reports of him being killed during the Boxer Uprising.

Morrison's curiosity and acute skills of observation helped make him a masterful writer. His talents were reflected in his 1895 book, An Australian in China, which so impressed readers in England that he was appointed in 1897 as the first permanent correspondent for The Times newspaper in Beijing. Over time he gained prominence in China and internationally, earning the nickname "Chinese Morrison" or "Morrison of Peking".

In many ways Morrison often placed himself in the centre of historical events, and always in the centre of danger.

He was in southern China to report on the epoch-making rebellion of October 1911, which brought to an end two thousand years of dynastic rule. Back in the embattled imperial capital of Beijing, he landed the scoop of the millennium by reporting the abdication of the last Chinese emperor, Xuantong or, as he was more commonly known, Puyi.

He then witnessed the founding of the Republic of China, which ushered in the country's first, albeit short-lived, democratic elections, a nascent legal system and a boisterous free press.

As if his journalism did not bring him close enough to the action, Morrison then quit The Times to act as adviser to the second president of the Republic, Yuan Shikai- who notoriously in 1915 sought to re-establish the monarchy, proclaiming himself the Hongxian Emperor. For the record, reflecting perhaps an early Australian taste for republicanism, Morrison cautioned his then boss against this course of action.

Morrison's, in short, is a remarkable career.

So remarkable that the street on which he lived in central Beijing, known today as Wangfujing, was known throughout the years of the Chinese Republic as Morrison Street.

Morrison comes from a remarkable stable of Australian Sinologues, writers and public intellectuals.

Figures like:

- William Henry Donald - the journalist from Lithgow who became a political adviser to Sun Yat-Sen and later Chiang Kai-Shek;

- C.P. FitzGerald - the noted historian, academic leader and educator;

- Wang Gung-wu - historian of the Chinese diaspora, former head of this school and later Vice Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong;

- Liu Ts'un-yan - pre-eminent scholar of Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism and former Head of the Department of Chinese;

- Ken Gardiner - lecturer in East Asian thought and history;

- Pierre Ryckmans - the much awarded art historian, novelist, and essayist;

- Stephen FitzGerald - the historian, public advocate for closer Australian engagement with Asia, and a man who became of course our first Ambassador to the People's Republic of China;

- Ross Garnaut - economist, Prime Ministerial adviser and himself later Amabssador to China; and

- Professor Geremie Barmé - academic, film maker and writer whose particular understanding of China's past and its possible futures is recognised internationally.

What unites all of these figures is more than a deep knowledge of China. They all also bring, often from different political perspectives, a passionate, sympathetic but nonetheless clear-eyed analysis of the China of their time. In doing so, they have brought a certain "Australian objectivity" to the task.

An independence of approach.

An understanding that acknowledges the rich legacies of our western origins - but one admixed with a fascination for the ancient civilisations of our own region and their modern permutations.

This "Australian objectivity" seeks therefore to be informed, understanding and always quizzical. Tempered by what we would call common sense. Tempered also by a wry awareness of our own place in the region and the world.

And of course, our own sense of humour - although a sense of humour sometimes inexplicable to cultures other than our own.

We see this Australian tradition in the brilliant career of C.P. FitzGerald, British by birth and Australian by choice.

FitzGerald was passionate about understanding China and communicating that knowledge to a broader public.

In his highly readable book Why China?, published in 1985 and which I recall reading as a young diplomat posted in Beijing at the time, C.P. dates his interest in China to the year 1917 when, as a young man, he read two articles in The Times by George E. Morrison. As FitzGerald recalled:

"Here was a vast world of fascinating history of which I knew nothing whatever: it did not enter into the school curriculum at all (a strong point in its favour)."

He went on to work in China and he soon set to learning Mandarin and classical Chinese. FitzGerald was deeply aware that a knowledge of contemporary China had to be grounded in an understanding of the histories, literature and philosophies of its past.

In his long career he wrote on China's dynastic past and modern revolution. On the fall of the Nationalists and the rise of the Communists. He wrote extensively on China's importance to the future of our region. Through his tireless public service as an educator and communicator he reached out to Australians at large, sharing his vast learning on China's history and the future.

After he came to Australia to work at the Australian National University, FitzGerald would develop a deep interest in both the Australian national identity and how that identity shapes our own engagement with China.

In particular, he supported this country pursuing its own interests and relationship with China, in ways free of those of the United Kingdom or the United States. Like other students of the Chinese world, C.P. FitzGerald knew how

China had for centuries loomed large in the Western mind. Hopes and fears, fantasies and nightmares were all readily projected on a land that for so long was regarded as an exotic "Far East". Whereas for us in Australia, China represented a much more immediate and practical reality to our near north.

In some respects, C.P. was pointing to the essential ingredients of a particular Australian perspective on China.

A perspective grounded in a knowledge of China's past, a practical appreciation of its present and an informed hope for the future. His view of China was neither captured by arid ideology nor a view that China was somehow simply a case study of some kind of cultural or political exotica.

For people like George E. Morrison, C.P. FitzGerald, Stephen Fitzgerald and others, China was never a canvas on which the West could simply cast its own feverish imaginings - utopian or apocalyptic.

It was always a vital, complex and powerful reality with which they became passionately involved. Theirs is a passion grounded in learning, cautious in approach yet always mitigated by empathy. China's view of its own role in the world is equally a complex mixture of hopes and concerns.

Its history - dynastic, Republican and contemporary - informs its re-emergent role.

Some say China's sense of its own history in fact emboldens its sense of future mission. Others would argue that these deep historical legacies do the reverse - that they call for measured caution on the part of China's contemporary leadership, given the litany of miscalculations littered across China's past. Either way, most would agree that China's historiography is one of abiding political and foreign policy relevance.

History is not just academic.

How China views its history very much shapes how China views its future.

For China, next year will see a seminal anniversary in the nation's most fraught modern history. 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Chinese Empire and the beginning of the Chinese Republic.

Between now and October next year, we will see a flurry of Chinese commentaries, both official and otherwise, on the significance of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and China's trajectory since that time.

The Xinhai Revolution was a turning point in the history of Asia. It was the first major revolution in the region - hailed by Lenin as the "awakening of Asia". It created the first democratic republic in North Asia, emboldening movements for reform and self-determination that would later sweep the region.

For China it marked a break with dynastic autocracy and colonialism, initiating what some historians call an "age of openness". It is also significant today as an event that will be celebrated, in fraternal amity, on both sides of the Taiwan Straits.

2011 is also the 150th anniversary of the first concerted efforts by a Chinese government to become active in international affairs and to reform and strengthen itself. This occurred with the Tongzhi Restoration in 1861, aimed at reversing the fortunes of a dynasty beset by aggressive Western powers during the Opium Wars on the one hand, and internal rebellion through the Taiping Rebellion on the other.

This was a period of unprecedented change.

Some historians argue that the long evolution of China's reform era should in fact be dated from this 1861 Restoration. It is then that the Chinese Empire first allowed representatives of foreign governments to reside in the capital.

The first foreign ministry was established. As was a new office of foreign trade. A formidable program of military modernisation was also begun.

These reforms, like many subsequent efforts in both the Qing and the Republic of China, were thwarted by foreign incursion and local strife.

Chinese thinkers and writers like Gong Zizhen [1792-1841] had for years hoped for a change.

Gong famously wrote the lines:

I urge the Lord of Heaven

to shake us up anew,

Grant us human talent

not bound to a single kind.

I have observed elsewhere that despite this long evolution of reform and foreign engagement, it nonetheless remains unclear how a re-emergent China will set its course as a major global power, and how its role will shape the future international order. Nor is it clear what new goals - national, social and personal - the Chinese people will set themselves as a confident and prosperous modern member of the international community.

What is without doubt is the fact that we are in a period of extraordinary change. We can now with clarity look back to the eighteenth century, to the height of China's wealth and power during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor.

We can contemplate the humiliations visited on the Manchu government during the empire's decline in the nineteenth century. We can appreciate the efforts of the Republican revolutionaries who established China's first democracy, and who created an earlier "age of openness". We are mindful, too, of the impact of cruel invasion, of internecine conflict and the economic chaos that brought this era to an end.

We can also understand better the trajectory of the sixty years of the People's Republic, its trials and tribulations, the chaos of the Cultural Revolution followed by the era of stability and reform, and the historical lessons learnt from each that have brought China to where it is today.

I have mentioned two commemorations that will be marked in 2011.

But this year of 2010 also marks a major moment in China's past that will be recalled more painfully across the Chinese commentariat.

In October 2010, both in China and abroad, people will mark the destruction in 1860 of the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Yuanming Yuan) and the garden palaces at the foot of the Western Hills outside Beijing.

The Yuanming Yuan was the most magnificent garden-palace created in imperial China. It was a seat of government as well as a museum of imperial art for over a century. An Anglo-French force destroyed it to punish the Qing government for its failure to sign a treaty at the end of the Second Opium War. The devastation of the gardens, villas and palaces represents a shameful low point in the interaction between China and the West.

Today the ruins of the Western Palaces in the Garden of Perfect Brightness stand as China's national ruin, a sombre monument to the agonies of China's past.

But those agonies were also felt by some in the West.

In far-off Paris, the destruction of 1860 was decried by Victor Hugo, who wrote:

"One day two bandits entered the Summer Palace. One plundered, the other burned. ...We Europeans are the civilized ones, and for us the Chinese are the barbarians. This is what civilization has done to barbarism."

The events of 1860 form a critical part of understanding China today. They represent one of many narratives that impact on China's political and foreign policy consciousness.

But China's stories about its past are in fact made up of numerous overlapping and contrasting narratives.

They tell of past sufferings and injustices. They speak to our broad humanity. But they also express hope and the possibility of inspiring transformation.

We understand and appreciate China has many stories to tell. Not just one. Indeed, we in the rest of the world are witnesses to, as well as interested participants in, these many stories.

In its modern nationhood, China brings together these various views of its history, its present and its future. This includes China's view of itself as a proud and ancient nation.

A nation that draws upon rich and deep traditions. A nation that traces its written history back longer than any other.

Where the Chinese of today can draw on thousands of years of written history to understand their future place in the world. Drawing on the past, some in China today would still see their country as a victim.

Others may promote it as an exemplar.

Still others again would point to the fact that for 150 years China has sought to engage the West comprehensively - only to be rebuffed, exploited and at times invaded.

The question for both China and the West, is which (or what combination) of these narratives is most likely to prevail. China is of course not the only one asking these questions of itself.

There is great interest throughout the world as to what role China sees for itself in the future.

There is a hardline view that regards China's rise as a threat to the existing global order no matter what. There is a contrary view, espoused by some particularly in the developing world and in some parts of academia, that a new "Beijing consensus" should replace the "Washington consensus" with China the model for developing countries to follow. There is the associated view of China as the economic saviour of the world, emerging from the global financial crisis.

Or alternatively, there is the view that China increasingly behaves as a mercantilist power, insensitive to its emerging global economic responsibilities. The truth is there are as many conflicting views in the West about China and its future as there are within China itself.

But within this complexity we must recognise that there are certain core unassailable facts.

The change in China since the reform and opening era began in 1978 cannot be denied.

The figures tell the story.

First, after two decades of growth of around 10 per cent per year, China has become the second largest economy in the world. It is the world's largest exporter of manufactured goods, and the third largest exporter of all goods and services. It is also now the world's second-largest car market after the United States.

This year, in the aftermath of the worst global economic downturn since the Great Depression, China continues to be the principal engine of global economic recovery - a fact highlighted by the International Monetary Fund in recent days.

Only a decade ago, this would have been unimaginable.

Three decades ago, it would have been seen as sheer fantasy.

We have all been beneficiaries of China's remarkable performance. Perhaps what we do not understand so well, because we see less of it directly, is the enormous benefits this change has also brought to China.

Second, within thirty years China has transformed itself from being an impoverished, isolated and predominantly agrarian economy to become an increasingly global, wealthy, industrial and urban-centred economy. In the process, around 500 million people have been lifted out of poverty.

This is unprecedented.

Nearly half of China's population now live in urban centres, including around 150 cities that number more than 1 million people. China now has more internet users than the United States, including some 200 million bloggers. It has over 700 million mobile phone users. Over the past decade outbound Chinese tourist departures have grown five-fold to reach 47 million last year.

These figures tell of a nation in a period of great change.

Third, China's military modernisation has been rapid, as observers of the 60th anniversary parade would have noted. There have been profound changes in China's foreign policy behaviour in recent times as China's power, real and perceived, has grown.

The depth and breadth of China's transformation must be acknowledged. But so too must the fact that change is ongoing, and so too are its consequences.

China has benefitted remarkably from its policies of domestic economic reform and global economic engagement. But there is still an ongoing debate within China itself about that reform.

Will it continue to unleash the creative potential of the Chinese people?

Or are the urges to re-centralise control again coming into play - as some analysts argue, citing examples of how the state is now reasserting its role in the Chinese private economy.

China's friends also continue to have concerns about the handling of human rights in China. We want to see the development of a truly transparent and independent legal system in China. We want to see the economic system develop in a way that brings China and the Chinese people into a globalised world economy. These facts and the question of China's future matter to us because China is now an integral part of the international system.

A growing China will pursue its interests globally: that is natural.

And I believe that China recognises its own fundamental interest in working with - not against - the international system that has served China so well in recent decades.

Over the past 60 years or so, this system has entrenched the values, rules, conventions and foundations that have helped bring about the greatest prosperity that China has experienced in its history. As I have already noted, China has benefitted enormously from this international order. Increasingly China is also playing its part within this order.

We see this in China's role in the G20.

China has partnered with the other major economies in responding to the global economic crisis. China is also working with us to secure the conclusion of an ambitious WTO Doha Round - which would provide a timely impetus to global growth. China has also engaged deeply with the nations of the Asia-Pacific region. While the region is largely at peace and on a positive trajectory, we cannot take this for granted.

We need to actively shape our regional future, and lay the foundations for dealing with future challenges.

And I am pleased that China too shares this goal.

I shall continue to advocate the development of regional architecture that has the right membership and mandate to address the full spectrum of challenges confronting the region - economic, political and security. That membership must, of course, include China, just as it must include the United States, ASEAN at its core and other key nations of the region - Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and Russia. The inclusion of the United States and Russia in our region's emerging architecture is fundamental to the evolution of what I call an Asia-Pacific community. In fact, so much of Australia's diplomacy has been driven by this core concern - how to integrate in particular the role of the United States in the future broad architecture of our region.

In this context I welcome very much the decision of ASEAN leaders at their summit in Hanoi on 8-9 April this year to encourage the United States and Russia to deepen their engagement in evolving regional architecture.

From Australia's perspective, an enhanced regional architecture involving both China and the United States is critical to our region's future and China's future role in it. While the countries of the region will need to settle how reformed regional architecture might be constituted, the ASEAN Summit outcome offers a critical step forward to the architecture our region needs for the long-term future. China is also increasingly active in the United Nations system.

China participated too in the Copenhagen negotiations last year - and there has been much commentary on the nature of China's contribution during the critical conference on climate change. China has since associated itself with the Copenhagen Accord.

But now, as the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, and commensurate with its global role and influence, China must take on a greater leadership role on climate change. As an emerging power, China must take more responsibility to forge the solutions to the global challenges we face. This is as necessary for China's future national interests as it is for the interests of the rest of the world.

China's contribution to the world order is undeniable.

But there is much, much more to be done.

It does not help, for example, that China associates with regimes around the world that others seek to isolate because of their assault on the integrity of international system - from the Sudan to Burma. China can - and should - do more to support wider international efforts against destabilising regimes and on global security challenges such as Afghanistan and Iran. China is going through a period of immense change, the ramifications of which are being felt around the world. The international community shares a strong interest in maintaining a stable global order that fosters growing prosperity based on cooperation between nations.

China is already a major stakeholder in the current global order.

What the world would welcome is China engaging across the board as major global stakeholder in the maintenance and enhancement of that stable, rules-based order in the future.

Good for China.

And good for the world.

But to understand what role China will, can and must play in shaping this world order, we need to understand China more deeply and engage with China at all levels. As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, China's role in the world is being reappraised. On the international stage, China has in many respects emerged stronger in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and the global recession. More engaged with the international community. More valued as a major force in the global economy. And more important as the world addresses the challenges of the future - most particularly climate change.

Australia too must also continue to assess and reassess its own understanding of China, as China's reality changes.

I believe it is time for what the Australian National University's Professor Geremie Barmé has described as a "New Sinology" (Hou Hanxue).

That is, a Sinology or study of China that is mindful of the positive traditions of exchange and learning with China, from the time of Matteo Ricci in the 16th century, through the time of George E. Morrison and C.P. Fitzgerald to the present day. A New Sinology that inherits the positive legacy of understanding and engagement that enlivened so many people who were drawn to the study of China in the past. A Sinology that engages with the Sinosphere and a vibrant and energetic contemporary China - in all its dimensions.

As Geremie Barmé has written, a New Sinology advocates:

"a robust engagement with contemporary China and indeed with the Sinophone world in all of its complexity, be it local, regional or global... "

A New Sinology is not based on old theories. It is about engaging with a re-emergent China. It says that China should not simply be viewed as a threat. Nor should this New Sinology be based on a reticence towards speaking honestly or critically about today's China, for fear of causing offence.

Instead we seek a new balance.

One that goes beyond old Cold War concepts of fan-Hua or qin-Hua - that is, of either being anti-China or pro-China - as if we are eternally locked into a binary world. This is about a more sophisticated way of understanding today's China.

A New Sinology capable of opening up new ways of understanding this great and ancient civilisation, and what it might offer again in the future. The challenge for us all is how we move forward to promote a deeper, textured understanding of the China in the 21st century. Both a China that encourages us all, as well a China that from time to time causes us to ask ourselves where China is going. In April 2008, when speaking at Peking University, I talked about Australia's evolving relationship with China and the maturing of our friendship in this new era.

As I said:

"In the modern, globalised world, we are all connected; connected not only by politics and economics, but also in the air we breathe.

A true friend is one who can be a zhengyou, that is a partner who sees beyond immediate benefit to the broader and firm basis for continuing, profound and sincere friendship.In other words, a true friendship which 'offers unflinching advice and counsels restraint' to engage in principled dialogue about matters of contention. It is the kind of friendship that I know is treasured in China's political tradition."

The bedrock of this true friendship is trust and commitment. I believe that since the Whitlam Labor government normalised relations with the People's Republic of China in 1972, Australia has established and built on just such a trust.

A long-term nation-to-nation relationship evolves on the basis of shared interests and mutual benefit. It should also grow and prosper in an atmosphere of increasing respect, deepening understanding and a recognition of values.

I have spoken of zhengyou because I feel we need to be able to speak to the government of China, its media and its peoples in a frank manner.

I believe that those engaged with the Chinese world will be respected both for what they bring materially to the relationship, but also for what they represent in their own right.

In Australia, we are an open society. The consensus by which we govern ourselves is forged through political conflict, conversation and conciliation - and resolved through the ballot box. We in politics live in the scrimmage of media exposure, and we have various tiers of democratically elected government. Like our colleagues in China, we are conditioned by our history, answerable to our environment, and constrained by our realities.

For us in Australia, our history, our values and our alliances are part of who we are. Our commitment to a positive, forward-looking and mutually beneficial relationship with the People's Republic and the Chinese world has been tested and proven over time. We believe that it is on that basis that we can progress.

I do not think that every time we express ourselves on the basis of our values and beliefs that our core friendship towards China should be called into question.

I would question a view that regards honesty and well-intentioned comment as being 'anti-China' (fan-Hua), just as I reject the careless application of the expression 'un-Australian' here at home.

I promote the concept of zhengyou so we can develop the language and the demeanour for a more sophisticated way of talking to and about each other.

We have long ago moved beyond the Cold War. I am of the view that the binary language of that era - that is, of either being anti-China or pro-China without any form of nuance, also belongs in the past. I believe this is as much an important new principle for the collective West as it is an important principle for China herself.

Otherwise, the dialogue among us all will forever be trapped in a frustrating and unproductive cycle of offence, high dudgeon and mutual recrimination.

In the past the great Chinese writer Lu Xun satirised those writers who tried to sound elevated and self-important by using fashionable foreign expressions, which simply resulted in pretentious and tortured prose. He called it "foreign eight-legged essays" (yang bagu) - referring to the formulaic essays demanded of the imperial examiners in the past, the bagu wen.

In 1942, Mao Zedong, chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, warned his colleagues against creating a new dang bagu, or "Party eight-legged essay" - a form of writing that struck a pose merely to intimidate and obfuscate. Perhaps we too often are caught up in what I would call "the eight-legged essays of international relations", waijiao bagu.

That is, stereotypical responses to complex realities.

Simplistic knee-jerk reactions to situations that require a more layered response. In the great Australian tradition, it's time that we all got over it.

Otherwise our engagement runs the risk of being formalistic and lacking the elements of a mature and genuine relationship that is necessary as we negotiate the shoals of the future. It runs the risk of concealing beneath it a range of tensions (both real and imagined) which cannot be resolved if they are not the subject of substantive discussion.

Let us remember that we are now seeing the rise of a new great power alongside the continuing single existing superpower the United States.

In this context, genuine engagement becomes critically necessary. History is not overburdened with examples of how such transitions in geopolitical and geo-economic realities have been accommodated peacefully. We need a new way forward.

And that is as important both for both the academy and policymakers themselves - as the first often as one shapes the conceptual framework of the second.

The same applies for Australia and our own engagement with China. Consider the events of the past year.

2009 brought a number of tensions to our bilateral relationship.

First, there was controversy surrounding the failed Chinalco bid for Rio Tinto in June. Then, in July, the Australian Chinese businessman Stern Hu was arrested in Shanghai. In August, Rebiya Kadeer visited the Melbourne Film Festival.

During those months, our processes, our views - be they official or popular - were frank and forthright. The boisterous environment of our democracy and the media were on display for all to see. We appreciate fully the core interests of the People's Republic of China, in particular with regard to its territorial integrity. But we too have core interests and core values that do not change over time. The interests of both our nations and our peoples must form the basis of the evolving dialogue between us.

Australia's engagement with, and serious study of, China is not a recent phenomenon. It has been a strong part of our heritage, as this lecture series amply demonstrates. But this does not mean that it is yet a strong or rich enough part of our national dialogue. As a country we need a focused training of expertise in 360-degree 'China literacy'.

Today, I am announcing how the Australian Government intends to encourage and deepen such China literacy in our principal academic institutions.

To develop a New Sinology, we must take scholars, experts and policymakers out of the silos of separate academic disciplines and departments. We need to foster a new degree of collaboration and engagement between scholars and practitioners of different backgrounds and expertise. And to do that, I believe we need to establish a new centre for study, learning and the exchange of ideas and understanding. A place where scholars, thinkers and policy specialists can engage in an across-the-board approach that brings history, culture, literature, philosophy and cultural studies perspectives into active engagement with those working on public policy, the environment, social change, economics, trade, foreign policy, defence policy and strategic analysis.

I can think of no better place than the Australian National University to further the sophisticated research and dialogue on China's engagement with Australia, our region and globally.

Nationally and internationally, the ANU is uniquely placed to build on its China-related expertise through a vibrant sustainable program of integrated research, education, training and public engagement - as well as its valuable library resources accumulated over the decades, going back to C.P. FitzGerald's time.

Therefore, it is with great pleasure that today I announce the establishment of the Australian Centre on China in the World.

Or, as we are calling it in Chinese, Zhonghua Quanqiu Yanjiu Zhongxin. The Australian Centre on China in the World will enhance the ANU's existing capabilities to create an integrated, world-leading institution for Chinese Studies.

The Centre will be a hub for national and international scholars. It will also be linked virtually with other university centres with related expertise both at home and abroad.

The Australian Government's aspiration is to make this centre the pre-eminent global institution for the integrated understanding of contemporary China in all its dimensions - and for the study of contemporary China's regional and global engagement.

In Australia, we have a deep national interest in becoming the unparalleled repository of this expertise. But there is also I believe a wider global interest in this being the case as well, given our longstanding links with European, American and Chinese scholarship in this area.

In short, the Government's intention is to build over time the global go-to place for the analysis of the continued rise of China in all of its complexity - domestic and international - employing an integrated and multidisciplinary approach. It will conduct leading-edge and innovative research on China, develop new generations of scholars with deep expertise in China and build awareness - both within Australia and internationally - of China and its role in the world. Involving outstanding thinkers and researchers in China, our region, North America and Europe is key to the new Centre's brief. Through this initiative we will help foster and support future generations of intellectual, cultural and political leadership and provide new and creative research opportunities and training. We also expect that the business and philanthropic community will see the value in this Centre and contribute to the foundation that will support it, in partnership with the Government's initial investment.

This initiative is to be far more than just a resource for government and academics.

A new building will also be designed to house the Centre, which will be both a modern academic centre and a focal point for the university.

The Australian Centre on China in the World will foster research and educational links with other Australian institutions and increase our national capacity to provide research, outreach, postgraduate and other training activities dedicated to an informed and mature consideration of China. This study of China, and the teaching about China is not only about China and the World, it relates profoundly to China in the World. It is about research and thinking about China in the larger context of history as well as in relation to our Australian world, our region - Asia and the Pacific - as well as in the context of it as a multi-faceted global presence.

It is about a China that through trade and economics, foreign policy and defence policy, history and culture, ideas and beliefs, language and literature is part of the major conversations and debates unfolding in the global environment in which we live, think and continue to hope and prosper.

It is about a China whose role is crucial whether we talk about economic growth, or climate change, regional security or international politics.

At the same time, the mentoring of people in the public sector and providing access to a broader community of outstanding scholars, practitioners and the media are crucial to the mission of the new Centre. We need not only to expand high-level dialogue about China between academics, policy-makers and senior business people. We must also seek to enhance understanding of China at all levels of Australian society.

And that is part of the mission for the new Centre. To contribute to a well-informed debate that engages the broader Australian population in a dialogue that directly concerns their future.

In establishing this new centre, we are building on a legacy of decades of Australian scholarship and broader academic, economic, cultural and political engagement with China. And that robust engagement must continue with the China of our times. Not shying away from controversy. But always seeking deeper knowledge, and where possible, common understanding.

And all in a new tradition of a New Sinology anchored in the principle of zhengyou.

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