John Lee

Hard words won't shatter China-Australia relations

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The Abbott government's forthright approach to diplomatic relations with Beijing may have ruffled some feathers, but it won't preclude a strong economic relationship between the two nations.

Geopolitics lurk amid the MH370 tragedy

The search for debris from the ill-fated MH370 plane has united foreign powers in a rare moment of cooperation, but there's more at stake for China than any other country.

There are few reforms in China's great aspirations

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China is in need of market-based reforms, but a genuinely competitive economy will only be achieved if the dominance of its state-owned enterprises is wound back.

A Singapore sling is inadequate for unwieldy China

China is keen to emulate Singapore's success, but its lack of outstanding leadership, solid institutions and a strong rule of law set it apart from the prosperous city-state.

Capital flight is China's house of cards

China's ultra-rich are pouring money into Australia's property market, but the scale of their capital flight has deleterious consequences for the Chinese financial system.

Why Li Na's speech caused a racket in China

Tennis champion Li Na's failure to recognise China in her Australian Open victory speech symbolised the growing tension between individual expression and loyalty to the state.

Renminbi reforms will be another false dawn

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China’s fear of liberalisation of its currency is a sign of its immense economic vulnerabilities. Genuine liberalisation of the renminbi is not imminent because the conditions that have prevented it have not changed.

The political rot in Mao’s sugar-coated legacy

There is a great chasm between China's modern leaders, who implicitly reject Maoism, and the nation's official history, which tends to remember Mao fondly. Bridging the gap would strengthen the Party's legitimacy with its people.

China's self-serving moon shot

On Saturday, China became only the third country to land a module safely on the moon. With half a billion impoverished citizens this expensive project makes little sense – except as a geopolitical power play.

Counting on a Chinese olive branch

While there are concerns that tensions between Australia and China could impact the free-trade agreement process, escalating regional disputes may compel Beijing to ratify the agreement sooner.

China's salami-slicing is dicey diplomacy

China is making a series of small but aggressive moves to change the regional maritime and territorial status quo by stealth. It's a strategy that could result in disastrous diplomatic consequences.

A long march for China's national champions

The Chinese Communist Party is keen to see its SOEs emerge as world-class multinational players, and still determined to grow the sector in the only way it knows how.

Ambitious China goes land roving

Beijing’s determination to create inland Eurasian commerce and trade zones is as formidable as its maritime push, and has economic and political consequences for the entire region.

Keep it simple, Sinophiles

China didn't appreciate being taken for a ride by Kevin Rudd, even unintentionally. Tony Abbott's low-key, more economically focused strategy will be a better fit – if he can sustain it.

Prison may unlock a political opportunity for Bo Xilai

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China's leaders are hoping that a life sentence will solve the political problem of Bo Xilai. But if things go pear-shaped for the Chinese economy, Bo Xilai may reemerge as a viable socialist alternative.

China’s FDI obstacle course

Foreigners are complaining about China’s FDI approval process for good reason: it’s onerous, arbitrary and vastly different to what Beijing seeks from Australia.

Trade numbers cut China down to size

Despite assumptions to the contrary, hard data on regional trade and investment activity show a China-dominated Asian Century is far from inevitable.

The Pentagon's plan for an air-sea battle with China

The US and China both have plans in the event of conflict between them. But the Pentagon's 'AirSea Battle' strategy seems like an ill-conceived deterrent.

Picking the PM: If China could choose

Kevin Rudd's return will be welcomed by the US but he brings baggage to the relationship with China. Would foreign policy neophyte Tony Abbott fare better with Beijing?

China bears are safe to come out

Major institutions like the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank have been behind the curve on China because of self-censorship. That kept research bullish long after cracks began to appear.