Beijing dialogue concludes journalist exchange

The need for a broader understanding between China and Australia beyond the burgeoning trade relationship was a major theme of discussions during APJC’s first China Australia Journalist Exchange.

The one-day dialogue, held in Beijing on November 26, concluded a 10-day professional study tour program in which six journalists from China visited Australia and six Australian journalists visited China.

Fellows China Dialogue

Fellows meet in Beijing for Dialogue.

At the dialogue, journalists from both countries pointed to how international students, along with tourism, had the potential to play an important role in promoting understanding between China and Australia.

The leader of the Australian team, The Canberra Times editor-at-large Jack Waterford, said a challenge facing Australian journalists was to “report China in Australia”.

There was an opportunity for more reporting on the lives and experiences of Chinese students studying in Australia, he said.

Chinese students account for more than 40 per cent of the 460,000 international students enrolled to study in Australia, according to records up to August 2013.

Waterford predicted the rise of more social reporting on each other’s country. “We tend to focus on differences, but there is so much in common that unites us,” he said.

Chinese team member Liu Rui, from the All China Journalists Association (ACJA), noted that “business leaders in Australia focused not just on the economic relationship but also other factors”.

He said he had learnt from the Australia China Business Council in Sydney that Chinese migrants to Australia can have difficulty integrating into life in Australia. “It is important to cover the human side more,” he said.

The exchange was organised by the ACJA and the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre (APJC). It was supported in China by the ACJA and participating news organisations, and in Australia by ANZ and the Australia China Council.

The program provided fellows with an opportunity to gain insights into the other country and to explore economic and social issues in greater depth.

APJC director John Wallace said the program gave journalists from both countries deeper understanding of the growing economic relationship and how it is being managed.

“It also reaffirmed the need for Australian journalists to have a broader understanding of China that aims to match the success of the trade relationship. This sentiment came through strongly during the program, and especially from the business community,” he said.

During their tour to Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney, the Chinese fellows visited business and media organisations and met with ANZ CEO Mike Smith, the Newspaper Works, business journalist Alan Kohler and Australian National University security specialist Michael Wesley.

In Shanghai, Chongqing and Beijing, the Australian fellows met business groups trading with Australia, as well as government officials and media representatives.

The Chinese journalists involved in the program were:

  • Xinhua News Agency, Henan Bureau chief Luo Hui
  • Jilin Daily deputy editor-in-chief Shan Haiou
  • Jiefang Daily, Shanghai economic department (editorial) director He Luoxian
  • Qiqihar Daily president and Heilongjiang Province senior reporter Wang Wei
  • China Radio International, Australia-based correspondent Xiao Wang
  • People’s Daily Online Australia-based news director Vincent Li
  • All China Journalists Association representative Liu Rui

The Australian journalists  involved in the program were:

  • Australian Associated Press, Petrina Berry, reporter
  • SBS TV News, Richard Davis, political reporter
  • ABC TV Asia Pacific News Centre, Beverley O’Connor, senior presenter
  • The Australian Financial Review, Mark Skulley, senior journalist
  • The West Australian, Shane Wright, economics editor
  • APJC representative Jack Waterford, APJC board member The Canberra Times editor at large


Fellows’ coverage:

Chinese boom has a message
Shane Wright, The West Australian — 6 January, 2014
A city that dates its history back more than 2000 years, its population is growing nearly 200,000 residents a year.
Within three blocks of the absolute centre of the city — a centre dominated by huge Cartier, Rolex and Louis Vuitton advertisements — there are a few 50 storey-plus skyscrapers being built. Read more

Chinese bid to revive Oakajee port
Shane Wright, The West Australian — 25 November, 2013
One of the Mid West’s biggest investors has warned that billions of dollars worth of iron ore developments across the region could be “mission impossible” unless key infrastructure projects are built. This includes the shelved $6 billion Oakajee port project. Read more

China wakes up to baby blues
Shane Wright, The West Australian — 25 November, 2013
Spotting babies in Chongqing is a beautiful but difficult pastime. This city, one of China’s fastest growing in economic and population terms, is expanding but not on the back of a baby boom. Walking its bustling streets, one of the most obvious missing pieces is young children. It is a microcosm of China — a country rapidly running out of babies. Read more

China pleads for WA faith
Shane Wright, The West Australian — 23 November, 2013
The head of a planned $3 billion Chinese-funded iron ore mine in the State’s Mid West has made a direct plea to West Australians to have faith the project will go ahead. Asia Iron Australia chairman and vice-chairman of Chongqing Iron and Steel, Guo Deyong, has made clear his firm will continue with the proposed Extension Hill magnetite mine despite doubts being raised within WA about it. Read more

Sinosteel bosses to meet on WA railway
Mark Skulley Australian Financial Review — 25 November, 2013
The giant Sinosteel corporation will hold crucial meetings in Sydney this week to explore ways to solve the multiple-billion dollar infrastructure bottle neck which has stalled development of the Midwest iron ore deposits in Western Australia. Read more

Plans for Extension Hill mine
Mark Skulley, Australian Financial Review — 22 November, 2013
Although the massive Chongqing Iron and Steel Group includes three steel mills using 10,000 megawatts of electricity annually, executives said there were 30 bigger steels plants in China. The $US3 billion Extension Hill iron ore mine and refinery in Western Australia will proceed, according to a senior Chinese steel executive. The executive, Deyong Guo, dismissed recent reports in WA that expressed doubt the project would go ahead after the replacement of a senior Australia based executive. Read more

Sinosteel look to revive WA mining project
Petrina Berry, AAP — 22 November, 2013
Chinese metals giant Sinosteel will meet with business partners to revive the perpetually stalled West Australian Oakajee iron ore project. Delays in building infrastructure and mounting costs has plagued the Oakajee project. Read more

New China-Sydney flights launched
Petrina Berry, AAP — 21 November, 2013
Australians will have greater access to the world’s fastest growing city in southwestern China before Christmas.
Chinese airline Sichuan will launch twice-weekly non-stop flights between Chongqing and Sydney on December 20. Read more

China’s ‘dancing grannies’
Beverley O’Connor, ABC — January 15, 2014
Beverley O’Connor meets with China’s “dancing grannies” as they compete for space to practise in crowded Beijing. Watch

APJC China fellowship
Richard Davis, Vimeo
Video package covering the Beijing Dialogue on November 26, 2013 . Watch