Front and centre in Australia's contemporary discourse about Asia is no longer the 'Yellow Peril', but the Asian Century. Nowhere is this new Asia discourse more prominent than in the recently released White Paper titled Australia in the Asian Century, whose broad themes on getting on to the Asia bandwagon have received rare bipartisan support in Canberra. Yet, in China, one of the main actors in the so-called 'Asian Century', this concept has yet to be widely embraced. While there has been some upbeat Chinese assessment of China's future in the new century, overall Chinese attitude has been characterised by ambivalence, caution and even scepticism about this notion (and its 'Chinese Century' variant). This article examines both Chinese perspectives on the Asian/Chinese Century and their implications for Australia's engagement with Asia and China. It argues that the Chinese ambivalence, conditioned by their historical memory and contemporary awareness of the US-dominated strategic order, needs to be taken more seriously by Australian observers and policy-makers, for such China knowledge could help Australia better reflect on its own hope and anxiety about the future of Asia and its at once promising and uneasy place within the region.
Field of Research
160607 International Relations 169903 Studies of Asian Society
Socio Economic Objective
940399 International Relations not elsewhere classified