China Australia exchange explores economies and cultures

The 2015 China Australia Journalist Exchange will give six Australian journalists the opportunity to see firsthand the growing links between agricultural sectors in China and Australia.

As part of the 10-day program to be conducted in May, the journalists will spend four days in the autonomous region of Ningxia, which sits on the old silk trade route and is now seeking to transform its economy through innovative agricultural, energy and information technology partnerships with Australia and other countries.

These partnerships include a number of wine-producing enterprises that have benefited from Australian research, a processing plant for halal beef and mutton destined for the Middle East, and environmental research into dry land wheat.

The journalists will also explore the rich cultural heritage of Ningxia, which was the centre of the eleventh century Tangut Empire and today is home to the Muslim Hui people.

The exchange is a joint initiative of the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre and the All-China Journalists Association, with support from the ANZ Banking Group.

It aims to build news organisations’ capacity to report on and analyse the other country and generally to improve public understanding of the two countries.

The 2015 program theme is “Exploring economies and cultures”. As well as travelling to Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia, the group will visit Shanghai and Beijing. They will meet with government, business, NGOs, academics, journalists, and members of the community at large.

The Australian group will be led by Mark Baker, chief executive of the Melbourne Press Club and a member of APJC’s advisory board. He is a former China correspondent and senior Fairfax editor.

The other members of the group include:

  • Sheryle Bagwell, ABC Radio Breakfast
  • Ed Gannon, Herald and Weekly Times
  • Angela Pownall, The West Australian
  • Jason Tin, The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail
  • Brett Worthington, ABC Rural

RMIT journalism student Rebecca Colquhoun will also attend as an ANZ intern and reporter for the ANZ financial publication BlueNotes.

Under the exchange program, six Chinese news media professionals will visit Sydney and Melbourne in late June 2015.