Adding to the debate regarding Australia’s role in the Asian Century, a new book sheds light on the nation’s foreign policy discourse with China.

Written by Yi Wang from the School of Languages & LinguisticsAustralian-China Relations post 1949: Sixty Years of Trade and Politics —challenges commonly-held beliefs about Australia’s dependence upon great power allies.

“Australia’s relationship with China has been understudied,’’ says Dr Wang.

“Despite its growing importance, an overall account of how Australia has developed its relations with China has remained unwritten. My book fills this gap.”

The book focuses on the economic and political dimensions of the policy-making process from the founding of the People’s Republic of China to the present.

It does this against an analytical framework accounting for both internal and external factors in the formulation and implementation of Australian foreign policy.

Dr Wang draws on information and insights from direct participants in the policy process including former Australian leaders Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, John Howard and Kevin Rudd, as well as former Chinese and Australian ambassadors.

Informed by political science and international relations, the book differs from the conventional literature on Sino-Australian relations, which has either focused on pure economic analysis or concentrated on chronicling historical events.

Dr Wang was born and educated in China and employed in the Chinese public service in Beijing before moving to Australia and taking up teaching at Griffith University in 2011.

The book is the only systematic up-to-date book-length study covering the entire bilateral history in the contemporary era, spanning more than 60 years.