About The China Story

The China Story Project is a web-based account of contemporary China created by the Australian Centre on China in the World (CIW) in the College of Asia & the Pacific (CAP) at The Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. The Centre is an initiative of the Commonwealth Government of Australia in collaboration with ANU, a university with the most significant concentration of dedicated Chinese Studies expertise and the publisher of the leading Chinese Studies journals in Australia (see the ANU China Institute site here). CIW is a national research centre that is jointly managed by a body of academics that includes scholars of China at universities in Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney.

The Australian Centre on China in the World is a humanities-led research institution that is engaged with the broad range of social sciences to produce academic work that, while relevant to the full spectrum of demands of international scholarship, also relates meaningfully to those in the public policy community, and to the broader interested public, both in Australia and overseas. It values a New Sinology, that is an intellectual, cultural and personal involvement with the Chinese world (be it in the People’s Republic, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan or globally) that is underpinned by traditions of academic independence, local fluency and disciplinary relevance.

The Australian Centre on China in the World is a publicly funded research centre. We believe that it is crucially important for us to provide broad access to our research and expertise without pay walls or charge. This site features the following sections:

  • Yearbook, an annual themed overview of China that can be read online, downloaded chapter by chapter or in book form, or read in Kindle format.
  • Lexicon, which offers differing perspectives on key terms or expressions that form part of the public and media discussion of contemporary China both inside and outside the People’s Republic. These are terms or issues that are generally a source of contention between China’s official media, reporting and analysis in the international media, scholastic work and popular debate.
  • Archive, a database of Chinese-language material relevant to the Research Themes of CIW, the Yearbook and the Lexicon.
  • Journal, a running account of contemporary China by scholars and writers from diverse backgrounds.
  • New Sinology, an introduction to the concept and essays on the integrative study of contemporary China in historical context.
  • China in the World, a link to the Australian Centre on China in the World, its aims, research themes and staff. The Centre supports three academic journals: China Heritage Quarterly, East Asian History and The China Journal.
  • The Australia-China Story, a resource for the study of the bilateral relationship.
  • Thinking China, introducing ideas, individuals and issues that offer insights into contemporary discussions and debates.

The speech/essay ‘Telling Chinese Stories‘ offers a background to the Project, and you can visit this page for reactions, citations and press mentions of The China Story.


The China Story Project has evolved over a number of years but it has finally taken form under the aegis of the Australian Centre on China in the World (CIW) at The Australian National University (ANU). It is also part of a creative collaboration between CIW and Danwei Media in Beijing and academics involved in CIW from ANU and other universities.

We are grateful to our colleagues at Danwei for their work in developing this project, in particular Jeremy Goldkorn, Eric Mu, Barry van Wyk, Joel Martinsen and to Ryan McLaughlin of Dao By Design 道設計, who built the website.

Markuz Wernli Design Works has played a crucial role in designing our China Story Yearbook 2012 in its various formats, as well as in creating the overall appearance of this site. Among other things, Markuz used a calligraphic version of the word guo 國 in the hand of the Tang-dynasty monk Huaisu (怀素, 725-785 CE) to create a visual theme for the Project. The New York-based photographer Lois Conner has been generous in allowing us to use her work on the cover of the Yearbook, and on this site.

Ivan Franceschini proposed creating The China Story Journal, which he has developed with Elisa Nesossi, and Nathan Woolley, formerly of the ANU China Institute, collected stories in the media from 2009-2011 that are available in The Australia-China Story.

Julien Leyre has helped us develop Thinking China, which also introduces topics from the Hong Kong-based journal 1510 (Yiwu yishi 一五一十), founded by Rose Luqiu Luwei. We are also grateful to CIW colleagues for contributions to The China Story Lexicon.

For permission to reproduce their posts in the China Story Yearbook 2012, we would like to thank the bloggers, writers and researchers behind ChinaGeeks, China Media Project, ChinaSMACK, Digicha, Jottings from the Granite Studio, Peking Duck and TechRice. Blog posts by Ai Weiwei that appear in Chapter 9 of the Yearbook are selected from Lee Ambrozy, ed., Ai Weiwei’s Blog: Writings, Interviews, and Digital Rants, 2006-2009, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2011; and, Han Han’s essay, ‘The Derailed Country’, translated by Matt Schrader, originally appeared in ChinaGeeks and was reproduced with minor modification in the Editorial of China Heritage Quarterly, Issue 27 (September 2011).

Without the generous support of colleagues in the College of Asia & the Pacific at The Australian National University, past and present, the Australian Research Council (ARC) – through grants related to Beijing (a Federation Fellowship on the topic of ‘Beijing as Spectacle’) and new National Ceremonies (jidian 祭典) – and the Commonwealth Government of Australia, this project would not be possible. Finally, members and affiliates of the Australian Centre on China in the World, including the ANU China Institute, with their diverse academic backgrounds and interests, along with our partners at Danwei Media in Beijing and Markuz Wernli Design Works in Kyoto, have made The China Story Project not only imaginable, but practicable.

—Geremie R. Barmé
Director, CIW