Fast training through China to explore economic ties

Five Australian journalists travelled by fast train through China’s northeast to explore the burgeoning economic relationship between China and Australia, along with social, cultural and other links.

The study tour, held from 18 to 26 October, was part of the annual China Australia Journalist Exchange, organised by the All China Journalists Association and the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre, with support from the ANZ Banking Group.

Dalian-ShenyangTrain500x281The visit allowed the group an opportunity to look at diverse sectors and issues, including progress and challenges for large and small business and trade, environmental management, diplomatic ties, news media restructuring, education and culture.

The program began in Liaoning Province, at China’s northernmost warm water port city, Dalian, with scene-setting cultural visits exploring the province’s history of foreign occupation.

Business visits included tours of the Australian beef importer Snowdragon Beef Co, a malt company and a locomotive manufacturer, providing insights into the workings of China’s state-owned enterprises and entrepreneurial businesses.

“My previous trips to southern China some years ago, and a lot of recent research, failed to prepare me for what we saw in Dalian,” Australian tour leader Nigel McCarthy said. “The speed and extent of development is breathtaking and illustrates that the Chinese can push through projects that would take much, much longer in the West.”

From Dalian the group travelled by one of the newest links in the fast-train system to Shenyang, capital of Liaoning Province, where they met staff of Australia’s trade promotion organisation, Austrade, representatives of the provincial government, and staff and students at Liaoning University.

The group continued by fast train to Beijing for meetings with the Beijing Daily Group, staff and students of Tsinghua University, and officials of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This last meeting coincided with the launch of the China-initiated Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, providing timely news content for the group’s reports for Australian news media.

The group also visit the Beijing Environment Exchange to learn about carbon trading, which was a highlight, according to McCarthy.

“It’s a pilot project, but participation is compulsory for large institutions in Beijing. The planners have examined and learned from other emissions trading schemes around the world. This is an ETS model for the future. The exchange illustrates that Chinese planners recognise that they have to combat climate change.”

The Australian journalists were:

  • Matthew Cranston, reporter, The Australian Financial Review
  • Jennifer Hewett, national affairs columnist, The Australian Financial Review
  • Lisa Martin, press gallery reporter, Australian Associated Press
  • Simon Morris, video news editor, The Sydney Morning Herald
  • Auskar Surbakti, reporter and presenter, ABC

The exchange program continues in 2015 with a visit by Chinese journalists to Australia.

Fellows’ coverage:

China Watching
Jennifer Hewett of The Australian Financial Review, interviewed on ABC Radio National’s Saturday Extra, 22 November 2014

Chinese state-owned media facing same challenges as Western journalists
Auskar Surbakti, ABC News, 7 November 2014

The dawn of China’s beef age
Auskar Surbakti, ABC News, 5 November 2014

China behind the smog
Simon Morris, Fairfax Media, 3 November 2014

An acrid taste in the mouth
Jennifer Hewett, The Australian Financial Review, 28 October 2014

China’s cloak of civility hides battle of wills
Jennifer Hewett, The Australian Financial Review, 27 October 2014

Chinese covet cattle stations
Matthew Cranston, The Australian Financial Review, 27 October 2014

Gen Y shaking up China’s workforce
Lisa Martin, Australian Associated Press, 24 October 2014

Chinese city being built from scratch
Lisa Martin, Australian Associated Press, 24 October 2014

China open to Australian role in Asia bank
Lisa Martin, Australian Associated Press, 24 October 2014

A toast – or 10 – to doing business in China
Jennifer Hewett, The Australian Financial Review, 24 October 2014

Chinese investors looking to Australia
Matthew Cranston,  The Australian Financial Review, 23 October 2014

Brand Australia must find voice
Jennifer Hewett, The Australian Financial Review, 23 October 2014

Faithful to the party line
Jennifer Hewett, The Australian Financial Review, 22 October 2014

Aussie beef boost for China’s soccer team
Lisa Martin, Australian Associated Press, 22 October 2014

Chasing the Chinese dream in Dalian
Jennifer Hewett, The Australian Financial Review, 21 October 2014

A continuing China dependency
Jennifer Hewett, The Australian Financial Review, 20 October 2014

MAIN PHOTO: China Australia Journalist Exchange fellows visit Shenyang’s Manchurian Palace.