When Does China Terminate Sanctions? Lessons From the Case of Australian Barley

Under what conditions does China terminate politically motivated barriers to trade? In August 2023, China announced it would remove tariffs on Australian barley that were imposed amid bilateral tensions in May 2020. The removal was widely celebrated for enabling the resumption of a trade that had been worth up to US$1 billion annually. Barley was one … more

Loyalty tests make Australia weaker, not stronger

Chinese New Year 2018, Sydney, Australia

Concern about China’s creeping influence in Australia has dominated headlines in recent years. So it makes sense, from a national security perspective, to understand and engage with the very communities most at risk of China’s meddling: Australians of Chinese heritage. That’s certainly the view of Duncan Lewis, the former Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence … more

Mask diplomacy: a novel form of statecraft?

Is China’s ‘mask diplomacy’ a novel form of statecraft? At first glance, it might not look that distinct from humanitarian assistance delivered to victims of natural disasters. Yet there are several notable differences that make this emerging practice worthy of closer attention. The strategic effectiveness of Beijing’s ‘mask diplomacy’ remains unclear and somewhat dubious. If … more