chapter  11
22 Pages

Framing China and the United States: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Current Affairs Television Programming at the Start of the Twenty-First Century: Xiufang (Leah) Li

ByXIUFANG (LEAH) LI

China’s emergence presents both challenges and opportunities for Australia in the twenty-fi rst century. China is Australia’s largest trading partner and became the largest stimulus for Australia’s economic development after the global fi nancial crisis in 2008 (Stutchbury 2009a, 2009b). The election of the Mandarin-speaking Kevin Rudd as Labor prime minister in 2007 produced optimistic expectations for bilateral relations on both sides. However, these relations were strained by a series of events in 2009: the detention of Australian Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu by Chinese authorities, Canberra’s acceptance of a visit by the exiled leader of China’s ethnic Uyghurs Rebiya Kadeer and the defense white paper which suggested that China was Australia’s biggest strategic threat (Shutterstock/AFP 2009). As a consequence of these events, China’s foreign affairs minister, He Yafei, cancelled his proposed visit to Australia to attend the Pacifi c Islands Forum’s post-forum dialogue on August 18, 2009 (Smith 2009). Simultaneously, Chinese human rights issues and Beijing’s “opaque” political system and “rigid” governance fi lled the editorials and front pages of The Australian, a national newspaper. Ideologically loaded and stereotypical depictions featured in the discourse: “grumpy dragon”, “sleeping dragon rears its head”, “Yellow Peril”, “ruthless government” and “the giant is fl exing its muscles” were among the terms used.