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On 14 July ACBC supported the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) in the organisation of a special briefing by Dr Bates Gill, a leading expert on China and East Asian strategic affairs. Bates has a 25-year career in international affairs as a scholar, policy advisor, institution-builder and active global citizen and was recently named by the Chinese Diplomatic Academy as among the top 10 American China watchers.
The guests were first able to network and enjoy a wonderful variety of food and drink supplied by Hall & Wilcox. After guests had taken their seats, Mr Alastair Roff, Chair of the Program Committee at the Australian Institute of International Affairs, gave an introduction to the event and warmly welcomed Bates to the stage.
In addressing his overarching topic 'Chinese foreign policy under Xi Jinping', Bates first touched on Xi’s young development and the progressive steps he took in his ascension to China’s most powerful leadership position. Bates then presented his own analysis of Xi Jinping’s leadership approach and how it has shaped China into what we know today. This included a discussion of initial party reforms and an adoption of the China Dream, as well as a restoration of the Party’s legitimacy and power.
Bates then moved on to recent concerns surrounding China, including uncertainty regarding the Communist Party’s power to reshape the Chinese economy from manufacturing to consumer driven. He also pointed to resistance within the Politburo, Xi’s internal constrains and vulnerabilities and China’s relations with surrounding countries.
These ideas were then tied in with an examination of Xi Jinping as a person and how his character is likely to manifest itself in his future political approach. Bates concluded with a question, how should Australia react and what are the implications for our future relationship with the world’s next biggest superpower?
ACBC Victoria extend our thanks to AIIA for organising the event and to Hall & Wilcox for hosting. We also warmly thank Bates Gill for his fascinating and insightful presentation and our guests, including representatives from the Chinese Consulate, for attending.