The Australian National University (ANU) College of Asia and the Pacific has again demonstrated its ability to undertake comprehensive research on China and to make meaningful contributions to public policy debates with the publication of the seventh edition of the China Story Yearbook.
Written by scholars and associates of the College’s China-focused research hub, the Australian Centre on China in the World (CIW), the Yearbook essential companion to making sense of current public debates about China by offering an original interpretation of the events of the last year — a fact endorsed by Australian Labor Party MP and former ANU professor of economics, Dr Andrew Leigh.
“In these interesting times, policymakers need as much advice and information as possible to navigate an increasingly complex and interconnected environment… the China Story Yearbook has quickly become a seminal reference for Australian policymakers,” he said.
“Its deep analysis of the economic, political and social context of China and its implications for the world makes it priority reading.”
In 2018, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was, by most measures, more powerful than at any other time in its history and had become one of the most powerful countries in the world. Its economy faced serious challenges, including from the ongoing ‘trade war’ with the US, but still ranked as the world’s second largest. Its Belt and Road Initiative, meanwhile, continued to carve paths of influence and economic integration across several continents.
Since 2012, CIW has produced a China Story Yearbook centred around a broad theme that encapsulates the major political, economic, social and cultural events in China during that year. For the latest edition, the theme ‘Power’ was chosen, with the corresponding Chinese characters权势威力. These four characters (see image below) can be combined either left to right (权势 and 威力), top to bottom (权威 and 势力), or diagonally (权利 and 威势). All combinations form phrases indicating various kinds of power.
In surveying the various ways in which the Party-state wields its hard, soft and sharp power, the China Story Yearbook: Power offers readers a sense of the diversity of power at work both in China and abroad. Citizens of the PRC have long negotiated the state’s influence; increasingly, diaspora communities and other actors are now being subject to its might. The Yearbook provides accessible analysis of the main events and trends of the year and is an essential tool for understanding China’s growing power and influence around the world.
“No country is either forever strong or forever weak” - Han Feizi, ‘On Having Standards’, Han Feizi
The book is aimed at the engaged public, as well as specialists, journalists, business people, diplomats and students. It is well-received annually across the globe. Between 2014–2018, ANU Press statistics show that the last four China Story Yearbooks were downloaded (whole and partial) over 50,000 times, with three quarters of all downloads occurring in Australia, China and North America.