La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University
China’s influence in Australia has become controversial. For years there have been reports connecting Chinese money to the funding of political parties, think-tanks, and research institutes. There is investment in business and buildings, and the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece China Daily struck a deal to be distributed in the Fairfax Media’s newspapers.
Less recognised is China’s exercise of soft power through the promotion of its culture and history – festivals, tours, exhibitions, performances, subsidies, and scholarships are often representative of a considerable investment in public diplomacy, estimated to be part of the US$10 billion that China budgets annually for ‘external propaganda’.
Why does China continue to invest so much in its international efforts to curry favour? What message are they trying to convey, and at what point does it become an issue of concern? How much influence does the People’s Republic of China wield in Australia?
This public forum brings together four experts to reflect on Chinese influence in Australia.