Managing the Australia-China relationship is one of the most consequential policy and political challenges confronting Australia in the twenty-first century. Every Australian has a stake in this relationship and it will profoundly shape Australia’s economic wellbeing, security, and social cohesion for decades to come. Beijing to Canberra and Back (BCB) aims to provide Australians and their governments with new data and analysis on this most consequential of relationships.

As well as collating extant economic and political measures of the Australia-China relationship, BCB will showcase original datasets detailing the past and present of diplomatic ties. Starting with a limited number of indicators of leader-level engagement between Canberra and Beijing, the intention is to eventually build a fully interactive database of all high-level diplomatic engagement since the establishment of diplomatic ties some 50 years ago.

BCB is an iterative project. Its data and accompanying analysis will be updated and expanded regularly to provide an evolving account of the Australia-China relationship. BCB will also initially be a relatively lo-fi product, technologically speaking. But the intention is to progressively finesse and expand the website as it grows. Both your forbearance and feedback are appreciated.

BCB will be focussed on the political, diplomatic, and economic dimensions of ties between Canberra and Beijing. But, of course, people-to-people, cultural, institutional, and other links between Australia and China continue to play a critical role in shaping bilateral relations. As such, the overarching goal is to eventually expand BCB to cover a wider range of metrics of the relationship.

As the datasets are expanded and fact checked on an ongoing basis, the data and analysis on BCB will be periodically updated. Corrections and suggestions are always welcome. Notwithstanding imperfections and limitations, the hope is that BCB’s data and analysis will both help inform Australians and assist their governments make effective China policy. In addition to the data and analysis on this website, the companion BCB newsletter will continue to regularly explore the twists and turns in the Australia-China relationship. To read and subscribe, visit the newsletter’s website here.

BCB is supported by an Australian Centre on China in the World (CIW) grant and was produced while working on related projects funded by the Australian Government via the Department of Defence and the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations (NFACR).  The views expressed herein are those of the author alone and are not necessarily those of CIW, the Australian Government, the Department of Defence, or NFACR.

Benjamin Herscovitch

Sydney, February 2022