How Important Is It for Australia to Maintain Good Relationships with China? Does Australia Do Enough to Support Human Rights in China?

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Introduction

This report aims to study the importance of maintaining good relationships between China and Australia. Because this is an enormous topic itself, the report is narrowed to illustrate the economic significance and determine the positives (negatives) associated with Australian-Chinese economic relationship.

It also has an aim to examine whether Australia does enough in order to support the human rights in China, and can Australia interfere in this so sensitive issue without damaging its relationships with China.

For the past 30 years China has undergone a rapid change .Since the "Open door" policy has been announced in 1978, China has transformed itself from a third-world country to a second largest world economy. It is clear that in our globalized world, China is a factor with a huge importance. With its enormous population, economical, political and military power China must not be underestimated. China has earned its place as one of the dominant players in the world stage. China has also preformed significant political changes- it is far of being considered as a western style democracy, but there are has been a significant improvement in the rights of the Chinese citizens.

Australian -Chinese relationships have gone a long way since the end of the cold war. In the 50s and 60s Australia considered China more as a communist treat than a partner. This view has completely changed .Due to its economic development and democratizations; China has become one of the most important Australian trading partners. The significant number of Australian born Chinese also contributes for the close relationships between the countries.

Another major step taken in order to strengthen the political and mainly economical ties between the countries is the proposed-Australia-China Free Trade Agreement. The benefits of which are discussed further in the report.

Despite that, there are undoubtedly economic advantages of Australian Chinese relationships a number a problem occur. The most significant of them are the continuing abuses of human rights in China. The most noticeable of them are the treatment of the ethnic minorities, lack of freedom of speech, freedom of movement and religious freedom. Another significant issue is environmental. Experts once thought China might overtake the United States as the world’s leading producer of greenhouse gases by 2010, possibly later. Now, the International Energy Agency has said China could become the emissions leader by the end of this year, (2007) and the Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency said China had already passed that level. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/world/asia/26china.html?_r=1

Last year (2006) had presented Australian public with another major issue! Australia has signed a deal selling uranium to China reversing long-standing policy in dealing with the nuclear weapons state. Despite the fact that China claims the uranium is used to build new nuclear reactors, there is not guarantee what happens to the uranium after entering the Chinese nuclear program.

It is obvious that the Australian- Chinese relationships are quite complex and need to be approached with great attention considering the importance they carry for Australia. The above mentioned issues are precisely going to be examined in the following report.

Main body

Let’s start with some figures that underline the leading position of China on the world stage. The fact that talks for itself is that China is the Second biggest economy in the world, confirmed by The International Monetary fund and the World Bank. (Roughly 15 times bigger than the Australian). Just this fact itself is enough to explain how important China for Australia is. These figures are going to be taken into account later in the report.

China is the 4th largest country in the world and the most populated. With around 1.3 billion it is accounted for 1/5 of the world population. However it is ranked quite low on...
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