– Analysis & opinion

On worrying about China: 2018

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. August, 2018 I met Xiao Zhang many years ago when she was a PhD student at a Medical University. It was my job to teach her class how to write up their research in a way that would increase their chances of having it published in a Western journal. […]

On worrying about China: 2016

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. September, 2016 Western analysts are reporting that the Chinese economy is a worry: too much debt, misallocated capital, a pegged currency, and a political system which refuses to reform itself. The fear is: if China sinks, the rest of the world may go down with her. Is a collapse […]

In China: what is truth?

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. April, 2015 It’s always difficult to comment on China. Paradoxically, this rigid Confucian society appears to change from one day to the next. Whether this is cultural reality or personal confusion, I am not sure. Nevertheless those of us who have lived in the Middle Kingdom for a long time have […]

Xi Jinping’s plan

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. March, 2015 China’s president, Xi Jinping, is an enigma. On the one hand he presents as a modern leader who many hope will guide his nation away from the social and political strictures of a command economy toward a more open society. On the other hand, he appears to be buttressing […]

On Confucius, culture, & government

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. May, 2014 Although Western people have heard many jokes about Confucius, very few understand his main ideas and how important his thinking has been to Chinese culture and society. If we are serious about understanding China it is imperative that we acquaint ourselves with this ancient sage.    On […]

China: a land of contradictions

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China.  China is a land of contradictions. While on the one hand China presents herself as an outward looking developing nation proud of her new economic strength and rising international status; on the other hand she remains a culturally conservative, inward looking nation influenced by her isolationist past. Foreigners who live and work […]

Reading the tea-leaves in China

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. March, 2013 It’s official now. The sometimes deadly jockeying for power has run its course and Xi Jinping has replaced Hu Jintau as President of China. Li Keqiang, who replaces Wen Jia Bao is now Premier. Xi Jinping leading the Standing Committee in rank order. Reading the tea-leaves in China […]

Politics and power in China

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. 2012 A case example: Bo Xilai was the Communist Party Secretary of Chongqing for several years. This huge metropolis is the central government’s hub for growth in southwest China. As Party Secretary, he outranked the mayor, and was the main instrument of central government control. His downfall – and that […]

Understanding China

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. May, 2010 “We need to ramp up the critical mass of Australians who are China literate… Unless we do so, our relations with China risk being seriously undermined by miss-perceptions and neglect.”  Alan Dupont, director of the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney, published in The Australian Newspaper, April 12, […]

A song and dance in China

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. July, 2011 What can we make of the reappearance of Maoist-era revolutionary rhetoric in China? This recent phenomenon was first noticed in Chongqing, China’s gateway to the west which is situated on the Yangtze River upstream from the Three Gorges Dam. This is the heartland of China.     A […]


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