Engagement between Australia and China through the arts, cultural exchanges and the creative industries is steadily increasing. A bilateral Agreement on Cultural Cooperation was signed in 1981. Today, collaboration is organised through triennial Implementation Programs for Cultural Exchanges, administered by the Australia–China Council and the Chinese Ministry of Culture. The most substantial bilateral cultural initiative to date has been the ‘Imagine Australia’ Year of Australian Culture in China in 2010–2011, and the reciprocal ‘Experience China’ Year of Chinese Culture in Australia in 2011–2012.
The 2012 Australia in the Asian Century White Paper [topic link page] endorsed cultural diplomacy as a way to deepen Australia’s relations with countries in Asia. It stated: ‘Our links with Asia are social and cultural as much as they are political and economic’, and ‘The people-to-people links forged through arts and culture can open up new business, training and market opportunities and are an integral part of strengthening political and trade relationships’. It declared that rising demand from the expanding Chinese middle class for cultural experiences, design services and creative lifestyle products offers Australia opportunities. To this end, the White Paper recommended giving the leading role to a redesigned Australian International Cultural Council, previously paralysed by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade budget cuts.
However, little has come of these suggestions. Many within the Australia–Asia arts sector accuse successive Australian administrations of treating culture as a ‘last-minute addendum’ to strategic policy, citing continual funding cuts to creative diplomacy endeavours in Asia. Over the last twenty years, the Australia Council for the Arts has slashed the share of its international funding used for Asia exchange programs from (on average) sixty percent to ten-to-twenty percent. There are few Australian arts managers with meaningful China experience or expertise. The Howard government removed the specialist cultural counsellor position from the Australian Embassy in Beijing to save costs, but China still has such counsellors at the Chinese Embassy in Canberra. Australian arts figures involved with China contend that Australian policymakers in China err in ‘defining culture in narrow terms of entertainment and recreation’ and thereby fail to grasp the significance of cultural diplomacy for achieving ‘broader’ Australian goals of a deeper economic and political relationship with China — where ‘culture’ is well-funded and ‘inextricably linked … with ideology and national vision’.
Nonetheless, the creative communities in Australia and China are becoming increasingly interconnected: cultural entities such as Asialink have sponsored hundreds of bilateral arts residencies; the Australian National Portrait Gallery and the National Art Museum of China have respectively hosted major Chinese and Australian exhibitions; the Sydney Symphony Orchestra frequently tours China; Australia and China boast a bilateral Film Industry Forum; ABC has launched the Chinese-registered AustraliaPlus website in conjunction with Shanghai Media Group; SBS has a dedicated Chinese-language website and regularly airs popular Chinese shows; Australians with Chinese heritage [topic link page] stage large and lively Chinese New Year festivals in Australian cities; an annual Australian Writers Week in China was established in 2008; and there are regular fashion, art, ballet, music and theatre productions and exchanges between Australia and China. Australia is also home to a number of renowned Chinese-born artists who were granted visas by then prime minister Bob Hawke following the 1989 Beijing massacre, including Guo Jian 郭健, Shen Jiawei 沈嘉蔚, Ah Xian 阿仙, Guan Wei 关伟 and the writer Ouyang Yu 欧阳昱.
The arts have sometimes caused conflict in the Australia–China relationship, most notably in 2009, when the Chinese Consulate in Melbourne demanded that the Melbourne International Film Festival cancel a screening of the documentary The 10 Conditions of Love and an Australian visit by its subject, Uyghur activist Rebiya Kadeer [topic page link]. In June 2014, there was an international outcry when artist Guo Jian was deported from China after making comments and showing artwork about the 1989 Beijing massacre.
- 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.
- Asialink Arts.
- Australasian Chinese Theatre.
- Australia-China Council, Australia-China Relations, ‘Society, Culture & Arts’.
- Australia China Art Foundation.
- Australia China Fashion Alliance.
- Australia-China Film Industry Forum.
- Australian Arts in Asia Awards.
- Australian Centre of Chinese Culture & Arts.
- Australia Chinese Cultural & Art Association.
- Australian Chinese New Year Festivals.
- Australian Chinese Painting Society.
- Australian Chinese Performing Arts Association.
- Australia Council for the Arts.
- Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs, Australia International Cultural Council.
- Australian Government, National Cultural Policy, ‘Creative Australia’.
- Australian Government, Ministry for the Arts.
- Australian Writers Week in China
- Chinese Art Society, Australia.
- Creative Asia.
- Experience China – Year of Chinese Culture in Australia.
- Golden Koala Chinese Film Festival.
- Imagine Australia – Australian Culture in China Portal.
- Li Cunxin – Mao’s Last Dancer.
- Maosuit Blog.
- Peril Magazine.
- Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art.
- Red Gate Gallery, Beijing.
- Salamanca Arts Centre, ‘Made in China, Australia’.
- SBS Chinese.
- Sydney Chinese Dance Group.
- Sydney Chinese New Year Festival.
- Trepang Exhibition: China & the Story of Macassan-Aboriginal Trade.
- White Rabbit Contemporary Chinese Art Collection.
- Rosemary Neill, ‘The Face: Ah Xian’, The Australian, 21 March 2009.
- John Garnaut, ‘Bloodshed led to another cultural revolution’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 June 2009.
- Interview with Lyndall Sachs, ‘Australia Readies Biggest-Ever Expo Effort’, China Daily, 26 January 2010.
- Stuart Harrison, ‘Australian Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010’, Australian Design Review, 3 May 2010.
- Yuko Narushima, ‘Made in Australia: Indigenous Art Takes Outback to China’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 May 2010.
- Michaela Boland, ‘Nation Missing the Shanghai Expo Express’, The Australian, 22 June 2010.
- Jocelyn Chey, ‘Cultural Policy and Australia-China Cultural Relations’, Charteris Lecture at the NSW Branch of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Sydney, 20 July 2010.
- Sophie Loras, ‘Year of Australian Culture in China: Art Lover’s Delight’, Australia China Connections, September/October 2010.
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ‘Australian Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo’, January 2011.
- University of Melbourne, ‘Trepang Art Exhibition Brings Celebration of Australia-China Relationship to Melbourne’, 21 July 2011.
- Michael Sainsbury, ‘Chinese Theatre Springs to Life as the Play that Started it al Makes its Move Offshore’, The Australian, 18 August 2011.
- Victoria Laurie, ‘From Warburton to China: The Aboriginal Art Exhibition Taking China by Storm’, ABC Perth, 25 August 2011.
- ABC, ‘New Horizon for Australia, China Art Scene’, ABC News, 30 September 2011.
- Rebecca Thurlow, ‘China Joins the Dots’, The Australian, 25 November 2011.
- Gallery, ‘Chinese Art in Sydney’, The Australian, 12 January 2012.
- ABC, ‘Mao’s last dancer to head Queensland Ballet’, ABC News, 24 February 2012.
- Joanna McCarthy, ‘Mao’s Dancer Quits Business for Ballet’, Australia Plus, 24 February 2012.
- Ian Lang, ‘Chinese Look to Australia for Media-Savvy’, The Australian, 1 June 2012.
- Alison Carroll and Carillo Gantner, ‘Finding a place on the Asian stage’, The Conversation, 11 June 2012.
- Karl Quinn, ‘Sinking Our Teeth Into China’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 October 2012.
- Douglas Gautier, ‘Cultural Exchange Builds Asia Relationships’, Australian Financial Review, 31 October 2012.
- Matthew Westwood, ‘Cultural Council to Rise Again in Asian Century’, The Australian, 1 November 2012.
- Ben Eltham, ‘Art an Important Pathway to Asian Engagement’, Crikey, 2 November 2012.
- Kathy Keele, ‘Cultural Exchanges with Asia Help Artists Improve Relations’, The Australian, 6 November 2012.
- Her Excellency Frances Adamson, ‘Victoria and China at 40’, Speech at the ACBC/Asialink Luncheon, Melbourne, 9 November 2012.
- Alison Carrol, ‘White Paper Leaves a Blank Spot on Developing the Performing Arts’ Connection with Asia’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 November 2012.
- Christopher Strong, ‘Linking Australian Artists with the Growing Chinese Market’, Articulation, University of Melbourne, 20 December 2012.
- RMIT University, ‘Arts Festival Promotes Australia-China Ties’, 7 January 2013.
- John Garnaut, ‘Lost in Translation: Backstage Drama over Staging of Cho Cho’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 January 2013.
- Cassandra Pybus, ‘China in the Tasmanian Imaginary’, Griffith Review, no. 39, January 2013.
- Sue Green, ‘Auction Valuers Discover Chinese Art Treasures and Fakes in Australia’, South China Morning Post, 5 March 2013.
- ‘Chinese Australian art relations dealt blow as Ausin Tung closes’, ArtsHub, 20 March 2013.
- ‘Shanghai Billionaire Purchases Aboriginal Art Exhibition Outright’, The Australian Financial Review, 22 April 2013.
- Scott Murdoch, ‘Chinese See Red Over Iron Man’s Makeover’, The Australian, 4 May 2013.
- Daisy Dumas, ‘Artist Takes his Journey from the Sea to the Wall’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 May 2013.
- Carillo Gartner, ‘Building Cultural Relations’, Agenda 2013, The Australia-China Story, 13 May 2013.
- Sian Powell, ‘Made Well in China’, The Australian, 8 June 2013.
- William Yang, ‘Artistic Expression Helps Overcome Years of Repression’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 June 2013.
- Annabel Ross, ‘Awards a Tribute to Asian Cultural Links’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 August 2013.
- Sharon Verghis, ‘Ballet Dancer Chengwu Guo is a Chinese Cracker on Fire’, The Australian, 24 August 2013.
- Jane Llewellyn, ‘Made in China’, The Adelaide Review, 3 October 2013.
- Bill Brittles, ‘Packer Makes His Move on China’s Film Industry’, ABC News, 4 October 2013.
- Ning Pan and Jules Pages, ‘Cho Cho – A Clash of Cultures Brings Chinese and Australian Theatre Together’, ABC Radio Australia, 14 October 2013.
- Stuart Cunningham, ‘The Creative Economy Could Fuel Australia’s Next Boom’, The Conversation, 31 October 2013.
- Michael Bleby, ‘Melbourne Fashion Festival Steps Out on China Catwalk’, BRW, 7 November 2013.
- Francis Tapim, ‘Mao’s last dancer Li Cunxin named Queensland’s Australian of the Year’, ABC News, 14 November 2013.
- Scott Murdoch, ‘Australia needs a closer cultural relationship with China, experts say’, The Australian, 18 November 2013.
- Jim Middleton, ‘Chinese Opera Comes to Australia’, Australia Network News, 4 December 2013.
- Screenwest, ‘WA Lands Multi Slate Deal and the Western Australia/China Film Fund’, 17 December 2013.
- Samuel Miers, ‘Australia-China Relations in the Rock Music Industry’, Asian Creative Transformations, December 2013.
- Tom McLean, ‘The Artist as Global Citizen: Cai Guo-Qiang in Brisbane’, The Migrationist, 10 January 2014.
- Mark Graham, ‘Asia Weekly: Catwalk Diplomacy’, China Daily, 17 January 2014.
- Stephen Minas, ‘Times A-Changin’ for Chinese, Australian Artists’, ABC Radio National, 21 January 2014.
- Ning Pan, ‘Renowned Chinese Artist Cai Guoqiang Holds First Solo Exhibition in Australia’, ABC Radio National, 29 January 2014.
- Peggy Giakoumelos, ‘Lunar New Year Celebrated in Australia’, SBS News, 31 January 2014.
- ABC, ‘China: Evolution not Revolution’, Q&A, 7 April 2014.
- Simon Benson, ‘James Packer funds Sydney Symphony Orchestra tour of China’, News.com.au, 11 April 2014.
- ABC, ‘ABC’s Australia Network signs China content deal’, ABC News, 17 April 2014.
- AAP, ‘China to Screen Aussie Shows’, China Spectator, 17 April 2014.
- Dominic White, ‘ABC Scores China Rights’, The Australian Financial Review, 17 April 2014.
- Amanda Meade, ‘Australia Network opens China’s door to Aussie programs after ABC deal’, The Guardian, 17 April 2014.
- Scott Murdoch, ‘Doubts Over ABC’s China TV Claims’, The Australian, 28 April 2014.
- Scott Murdoch, ‘ABC Puts Off China Deal After False Start’, The Australian, 30 April 2014.
- Tom Mitchell, ‘Lunch with the FT: Guo Jian’, The Financial Times, 30 May 2014.
- Philip Wen, ‘Australian artist detained by Chinese authorities ahead of Tiananmen anniversary’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 June 2014.
- Philip Wen, ‘Detained Australian artist wanted to finish Tiananmen work’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 June 2014.
- Huey Fern Tay, ‘Australian artist Guo Jian detained in China ahead of Tiananmen Square anniversary, friends say’, ABC News, 3 June 2014.
- ABC, ‘Who is detained Australian-Chinese artist Guo Jian’, ABC News, 3 June 2014.
- Scott Murdoch, ‘Chinese artist Guo Jian arrested over Tiananmen’, The Australian, 3 June 2014.
- AP, ‘Australia seeks release of Chinese-born artists held in Beijing’, South China Morning Post, 3 June 2014.
- Philip Wen, ‘Detained Australian artist Guo Jian held for ‘visa-related matter’: China’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 June 2014.
- Madeleine O’Dea, ‘Guo Jian: Detained for refusing to abide by mass amnesia of Tiananmen’, The Guardian, 4 June 2014.
- Karon Snowdon, ‘Australian artist Wang Xu’s self-portrait ‘I Do Not Forget’ commemorates Tiananmen Square massacre’, ABC News, 4 June 2014.
- Denise Carter, ‘Exhibition brings works of top Australian Chinese artists to KickArts Contemporary Arts in Cairns’, The Cairns Post, 5 June 2014.
- Philip Wen, ‘China to expel Australian artist Guo Jian amid Tiananmen anniversary crackdown’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 June 2014.
- Philip Wen, ‘China’s expulsion of Australian artist leaves a rotten smell’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 June 2014.
- Karen Barlow, ‘Australian-Chinese artists Guo Jian fined and held over visa problems in Beijing’, ABC News, 6 June 2014.
- Dan Levin, ‘China will deport detained artist, Australia says’, The New York Times, 6 June 2014.
- ABC, ‘ABC and Shanghai Media Group sign international agreement’, ABC News, 10 June 2014.
- ABC, ‘Guo Jian deported: Chinese-Australian artist arrives in Sydney after being deported from China’, ABC News, 17 June 2014.
- Mary-Anne Toy, ‘Chinese-Australian artist Guo Jian begins exile in Australia after Tiananmen Square artwork controversy’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 June 2014.
- AAP, ‘Detained Chinese-Australian artist Guo Jian arrives back in Sydney’, The Australian, 17 June 2014.
- Agencies, ‘China deports artist to Australia after detention over Tiananmen protests’, The Guardian, 17 June 2014.
- Monica Tan, ‘Chinese artist makes waves, and ice, to highlight environmental pollution’, The Guardian, 19 June 2014.
- Stephen McDonell, ‘Sydney Symphony Orchestra given standing ovation in Beijing on two-week China tour’, ABC News, 28 June 2014.
- Maurice O’Riordan, ‘Artists investigate their Chinese-Indigenous Australian mixed heritage’, The Guardian, 1 July 2014.
- Scott Murdoch, ‘Sydney Symphony returns to China’, The Australian, 5 July 2014.
- Sarah Clarke and Rochelle Johnson, ‘Australian art finds a champion in China’, Australia Plus, 10 July 2014.
- Wu Xiaoxiao, ‘Feature: Non-profit Chinese library keeps migrants in Australia connected with cultural roots’, Xinhua News, 15 July 2014.
- David Robertson, ‘Eight concerts, 12 days, seven cities’, The Australian, 30 July 2014.
- Debbie Cuthbertson, ‘Casting pearls of art from China to the world’, The Sydney Morning herald, 8 August 2014.
- Andrew Taylor, ‘Edmund Capon says Australian art is unpopular overseas’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 September 2014.
- Peking University Australian Studies Centre, ‘The Big Picture: Lives, Landscapes, Homelands in Australian and Chinese Art’, 2nd FASIC Australian Studies in China Conference, Renmin University of China, Beijing, 11-12 September 2014.
- Meredith Booth, ‘Chinese experimental theatre reaches Adelaide’s OzAsia Festival stage’, The Australian, 16 September 2014.
- SBS, ‘Art exhibition celebrates history of Australian-Chinese relations’, SBS News, 27 September 2014.
- ABC, ‘Australia Network goes off the air in the Asia and Pacific region’, ABC News, 29 September 2014.
- Primrose Riordan, ‘Deported Chinese-Australian artist Guo Jian to create ‘meat city’ in NYC’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 November 2014.
- Monica Tan, ‘Guo Jian on his Tiananmen Square stand: ‘I’m so proud of what I did’’, The Guardian, 4 November 2014.
- Jason Om, ‘Guo Jian: Artist detained over model of Tiananmen Square made from rotting meat remains defiant’, ABC News, 8 November 2014.
- Ashleigh Wilson, ‘Sydney Symphony Orchestra awarded for fostering China ties’, The Australian, 18 November 2014.
- Jane Ryan, ‘Chinese folk orchestra strikes a chord in Tasmania’, ABC News, 24 November 2014.
- Australian Centre for the Moving Image, ‘ACMI announces China Up Close’, Shanghai/Melbourne, December 2014 – March 2015.
- Patricia Anderson, ‘Ivory bans in the art world: Will Australia follow suit?’, Daily Review, 5 January 2015.
- Sue Green, ‘Chinese-Australian film director Tony Ayres thrills to the chase’, South China Morning Post, 24 January 2015.
- Verity Edwards, ‘OzAsia’s cultural ties paying dividends’, The Australian, 29 January 2015.
- John McDonald, ‘Chinese New Year: Artist Guan Wei celebrates with witty new works’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 February 2015.
- Brian Johnston, ‘Chinese New Year around Australia’, The Courier-Mail, 15 February 2015.
- AAP, ‘Sydney celebrates Chinese New Year’, SBS News, 22 February 2015.
- John Donegan, ‘Large crowds enjoy Sydney’s last Chinese New Year Twilight Parade down George Street’, ABC News, 22 February 2015.
- SBS, ‘Leading Australian artists embrace Chinese New Year with unique Chinese Zodiac Book’, SBS News, 23 February 2015.
- Wendy Caccetta, ‘Kerr Xu, China’s answer to Walt Disney, the film boss who hopes make Bunbury an Australian Hollywood’, Perth Now, 2 March 2015.
- Barbara Booth, ‘East meets West: Chinese New Year concert’, ArtsHub, 2 March 2015.
- Belinda Grant, ‘From Red Guard posters to a papal portrait: Artist who fled to Australia after Tiananmen Square massacre will paint for the Vatican – four decades after his work was distributed as propaganda by communist China’, Daily Mail, 9 March 2015.
- Stephen Bevis, ‘Orchestra in China accord’, The West Australian, 19 March 2015.
- Laura Gartry, ‘Partnership between WASO and Chinese philharmonic aims to build musical bridge’, ABC News, 19 March 2015.
- Rowan Callick, ‘NGV’s Forbidden City exhibition has emperor Qianlong at its heart’, The Australian, 21 March 2015.
- Rowan Callick, ‘Classic works from the golden age of China’, The Australian, 27 March 2015.
- Lisa Murray, ‘The Red Gate gallery at the forefront of an art revolution in China’, Australian Financial Review, 2 April 2015.
- ABC, ‘ABC launches AustraliaPlus website in China’, ABC News, 9 April 2015.
- Amanda Meade, ‘ABC launches web portal in China called Australia Plus’, The Guardian, 9 April 2015.
- Angus Grigg, ‘ABC accedes to Maoist censorship for China website’, Australian Financial Review, 10 April 2015.
- Lisa Mosley, ‘National Library of Australia to host major Chinese exhibition’, ABC News, 13 April 2015.
- Emma Kelly, ‘Exclusive Chinese exhibition to be hosted by Canberra’, The Canberra Times, 13 April 2015.
- Peter Cai, ‘Phoenix rising: China’s hard road to soft power’, China Spectator, 15 April 2015.
- Screen Australia, ‘Australian screen delegation heading to China sets a new record’, Media Release, 16 April 2015.
- Lam Chin Yee, ‘Designing for China’, Marketing, 27 April 2015.
- Revelly Robinson, ‘Monkey…Journey to the West’, ArtsHub, 27 April 2015.
- Colin Vickery, ‘Seven may launch new foreign-language TV channels including Chinese’, Herald Sun, 29 April 2015.
- Maria Tumarkin, ‘Doubly on the outside’, The Monthly, 6 May 2015.
- Antony Funnell, ‘China pushes to expand its soft power through cultural exports’, ABC Radio National, 6 May 2015.
- Pete Yoshinaga, ‘Mao’s Last Dancer Li Cunxin believes mistakes teach the most valuable lessons’, ABC News, 10 May 2015.
- Rachel Storey, ‘The Asian art market is expanding but is Australia looking in the right direction?’, ABC Arts, 13 May 2015.
- Stephanie Bunbury, ‘Melburnian Qiu Yang takes his short film all the way to Cannes’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May 2015.
- Jim Plouffe, ‘Culture is a key to China trade’, ArtsHub, 27 May 2015.
- ‘Canberra filmmakers sign deal with Chinese production company’, The Canberra Times, 25 June 2015.
- Talib Haider, ‘Canberra film companies sign multi-million-dollar deal for 10 movies with Chinese production house’, ABC News, 26 June 2015.
- Sally Pryor, ‘Ink Remix at CMAG: Chinese traditions remixed in cutting-edge collection’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 June 2015.
- Clare Colley, ‘Ink Remix art from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong opens at Canberra Museum and Gallery’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 July 2015.
- Ashleigh Wilson, ‘Ai Weiwei set to ring in summer of pop and Andy Warhol’, The Australian, 3 July 2015.
- Debbie Cuthbertson, ‘How the National Gallery of Victoria snagged Andy Warhol-Ai Weiwei double bill’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 July 2015.