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January 19, 2011: Geremie Barmé, Andrew MacIntyre and Richard Rigby

(Click to enlarge) From left to right, Dr. Charles Morrison, president of the East-West Center, welcomes guests and introduces moderator, Dr. Satu Limaye, and panelists, Professor Geremie Barmé, Professor MacIntyre and Dr. Richard Rigby.



(Click to enlarge) From Left to right, Dr. Satu Limaye, East West Center; Professor Geremie Barmé, Australian Centre on China in the World, Professor Andrew MacIntyre, ANU; and Dr. Richard Rigby, ANU.

What Is China Thinking?
Australian Perspectives


Event Audio

(Washington, DC) The rise of China is a dominant challenge facing the United States’ standing and influence in the world. Understanding China matters economically, strategically, and politically. But one cannot read official statements from Beijing and expect to fully comprehend how the political elites think and make decisions. During this seminar, which took place at the Embassy of Australia, panelists Professor Geremie Barmé, director of the Australian Centre on China in the World, Professor Andrew MacIntyre, dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University (ANU), and Dr. Richard Rigby, executive director of the China Institute at ANU, discussed the importance of understanding China’s many different voices- especially as the country becomes a major economic and political player. 

The panelists noted a perceived shift in the balance of power within Asia, which they believe is a matter of concern to the United States and its allies. Dr. Rigby explained that for the very first time in Australia’s history, its major trading partner, now China, is not also an ally. According to Professor Barme, despite very good economic ties and relatively benign political relations, complex defense and security relations are causing Australia’s policy community, and even its citizens, to develop a more sober picture of bilateral relations with China. Professor MacIntyre also added that, during the last six months to a year, there has been a marked change in China’s diplomatic tone, which has caused many countries, including Australia, to seriously weigh the economic importance of China against its future intentions. This forum voiced informed Australian views about the PRC’s developing role in the Asia Pacific region and highlighted ways the United States and Australia could foster productive regional discussion of Asian issues with China.

This Asia Pacific Security Seminar was co-sponsored by the Australian National University and held at the Embassy of Australia.

Geremie Barmé is the director of the Australian Centre on China in the World and is a specialist in 20th century Chinese intellectual and cultural history, contemporary Chinese cultural and intellectual debates and Beijing, its history and reconstruction. He leads the newly formed Australian Centre for China in the World, which seeks to engage multidisciplinary expertise in areas including Chinese thought, culture, history, politics, society, environment, economics and foreign and strategic policy.

Andrew MacIntyre is Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific at ANU and a professor of political science. Professor MacIntyre’s research focuses on the political economy of Southeast Asia and Australian foreign policy interests in the Asia-Pacific region. He is an active member of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue and sits on the advisory boards of the Australia American Education Leadership Foundation.

Richard Rigbyis the executive director of the China Institute at ANU. Dr. Rigby is a former Australian diplomat and senior bureaucrat, with many decades of experience in East Asia. He heads the ANU China Institute, which was founded in 2007 to engage the research and teaching talents of the university's academics to bring greater focus to ANU’s collective activities and to highlight the work of the largest collective of China specialists in Australia.