Two talks at USyd

amb1. China as Polar Great Power
Professor Anne-Marie Brady, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
3.30 pm Saturday 17 October in the Festival of Democracy
General Lecture Theatre in the Quadrangle, University of Sydney

China’s Antarctic program captured international attention in 2014 when its polar icebreaker played a central role in the dramatic rescue of the trapped Russian research vessel Akademik Shokalskiy. It brought a windfall of positive public relations for a country whose growing polar interests have tended to both arouse anxiety among traditional players in the Arctic and Antarctic and to attract negative media attention. The controversy associated with China’s expansion into the polar regions, reflects its potential disruption of the global order. China has emerged as a member of the unique club of nations who are powerful at both poles. Polar states are global giants, strong in military, scientific, and economic terms. The concept of a polar great power is relatively unknown in international relations studies. Yet China, a rising power globally, is now widely using this term to sum up its aspirations and symbolise the significance of the polar regions to China’s national interests. Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping first referred to China as a polar great power when he visited Australia in November 2014.

China’s focus on becoming a polar great power represents a fundamental re-orientation—a completely new way of looking at the world. China’s signalling that it is poised to enter the ranks of the polar great powers reveals both a deep need for status change in the international system and an awareness of a gap in global geopolitics that China alone has the unique ability to fill. In setting its sights on the polar regions now, China is looking to the mid to long term and planning for its future economic, political, and strategic needs. The Chinese government’s stated core national interests in the current era—to maintain China’s social system and state security, to preserve state sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the continued stable development of the economy and society—all require access and engagement in the polar regions.

2. Plus ça change? Media control under Xi Jinping
Professor Anne-Marie Brady, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
12.00pm – 1.30pm, Tuesday 20 October 2015
Room 310, Old Teachers College (A22) , University of Sydney

Since Xi Jinping took over the role of General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in November 2012 there has been a tightening of social, political, and economic controls in China, alongside a renewed emphasis on CCP ideology. Xi set this new direction in a secret speech in December 2012 when he raised the example of the break up of the Soviet Union, which he said was caused by a belief crisis—the Soviet people had lost faith with the Communist Party. In a further speech in January 2013 Xi Jinping was reported as saying that “beliefs and faith” are the “calcium” of Party members and without them they will “develop rickets”. A leading Chinese media specialist Professor Zhan Jiang has described the current situation in China as “the worst time for media and internet freedom since the start of the new century.” But to what extent are Xi’s measures a continuance of policies established by his predecessors Jiang Zemin (1989-2002) and Hi Jintao (2002-2012)? Do they reflect a new direction for CCP media management, or is it perhaps a case of plus cą change, plus cą même chose? This seminar will put the changes in media control under Xi Jinping into the context of the CCP’s longstanding media policies and developments under previous leaders.

Speaker: Dr Anne-Marie Brady is Professor of Political Science at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. In addition to her role at the University of Canterbury she is currently a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington DC and a Senior Fellow at the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham. In 2014 she was appointed to a two-year term on the World Economic Forum’s Global Action Council on the Arctic. A highly regarded specialist on Chinese politics as well as polar politics, she is editor-in-chief of The Polar Journal, and the author of nine books and more than forty scholarly papers on a range of issues including China’s Arctic and Antarctic interests, China’s modernised propaganda system, New Zealand-China relations, NZ foreign policy and competing foreign policy interests in Antarctica.