China’s Local Government Debt: Fallout from a Perfect Storm

The hidden debt of China’s local governments, which is held by entities called Local Government Financing Vehicles (LGFVs), has rattled financial markets. Now some worry that it could threaten the entire economy. While there is no official data, one estimate of LGFVs debt puts it at 59 trillion yuan (US$8.25 trillion) at the end of … more

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

How Multinational Corporations are Coopted into Becoming China’s Agents of Repression

Informal economic sanctions reinforced by state-sponsored consumer boycotts have made the Chinese market volatile for multinational corporations (MNCs) over the past decade. MNCs must be careful not to offend Beijing and nationalists in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Nonetheless, a definition of what it means to ‘offend China’ 辱華 is rather elusive. Examples range … more

Semiconductors, Supply Chains, and the Fate of Taiwan

Innovation in science and technology has become the main battleground of the global strategic contest.[1] — Xi Jinping, 28 May 2021 Realising the complete reunification of the Motherland is the shared longing of all Chinese sons and daughters and represents the essence of National Rejuvenation.[2] — Xi Jinping, 13 March 2023 Introduction At the Two … more

A ‘No Limits’ Partnership? China-Russia Strategic Cooperation

On 4 February 2022, the opening day of the Winter Olympics in Beijing and only twenty days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China and Russia declared a ‘no limits’ partnership that ‘surpasses an alliance.’ Given China’s and Russia’s geopolitical ambitions and boundaries, a tighter alignment between the two countries could significantly change the power structure … more

China’s ‘Green Steel’ and its Implications for Australia

In June 2022, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment and sixteen other government departments jointly released their ‘National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy’. The document outlined plans for the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to become a ‘climate-resilient society’ by 2035. It emphasised the need for adaptation and mitigation, namely, reducing emissions through new technologies … more