How to respond to China’s rise?

China's rise is transforming the world. One of the world's most influential scholars of international strategy, Hugh White, argues that the most prudent response for Washington and its allies, including Australia, is to relinquish its predominance and share power in Asia with the People's Republic. In this panel Hugh White will debate his thesis with leading China foreign and defence policy expert Linda Jakobson.


Among the most significant consequences of China’s dramatic growth in wealth and power is the way it is unsettling Asia's balance of power. How should the world respond to an increasingly powerful, wealthy and ambitious China? Should Washington try to retain the status quo in Asia, should it contest China's bid for influence or retreat, ceding the region as a whole to this authoritarian behemoth? How the US responds to China will be among the most important decisions it makes and will have consequences across the world.

Join us to hear them debate what has been called "the Hugh White thesis".


Hugh White is the author of China Choice: Why America Should Share Power. He is Professor of Strategic Studies at the ANU and a former Senior Advisor to Defence Minister Kim Beazley and Prime Minister Bob Hawke. Between 1995 and 2000 he was deputy secretary for strategy and intelligence in the Department of Defence.

Linda Jakobson is Founding Director of China Matters, an Australian public policy initiative that aims to stimulate a nuanced and realistic discussion in Australia about China's rise, and to advance sound policy. The author of six books on China and Asia, Linda lived and worked in China for 22 years. She is also currently Visiting Professor at the United States Study Centre, University of Sydney and a member of La Trobe Asia’s Advisory Board.

John Fitzgerald is President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, based in Canberra, and Truby and Florence Williams Charitable Trust Chair in Social Investment and Philanthropy in the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. He formerly served as Head of the School of Social Sciences at La Trobe University and as Director of the International Centre of Excellence in Asia-Pacific Studies at the Australian National University. From 2008 to 2013 he was China Representative of The Ford Foundation in Beijing where he directed the Foundation’s China operations. His publications focus on the history of Chinese nationalism, public administration, and the Chinese diaspora. His books include Big White Lie: Chinese Australians in White Australia (UNSW 2007), awarded the Ernest Scott Prize of the Australian Historical Association in 2008, and Awakening China (Stanford 1997), awarded the Joseph Levenson Prize of the U.S. Association for Asian Studies.  He has a Ph.D. from ANU and held a Fulbright postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a graduate of the University of Sydney. He is currently collaborating on a history of philanthropy in the ‘Cantonese Pacific’ from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries.


Nick Bisley is Executive Director of La Trobe Asia and Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University.

Robert Manne is Emeritus Professor of Politics, Vice-Chancellor's Fellow and Convenor of the Ideas & Society Program at La Trobe University.​

(Image clockwise from top left: Hugh White, Linda Jakobson, Nick Bisley, John Fitzgerald)


Thursday, 3 November 2016
06:15 pm - 07:45 pm


State Library of Victoria - Theatrette (enter via entry 3), Melbourne, VIC


$5 - $15

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