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China's new power in the Pacific

The plumes of our bird have a history that holds a mirror to this country and reflects onto it not our character, but the character of colonists and traders, the collectors, the naturalists, the bounty hunters – and it is their view of us, mirrored on to us, that is given as our own.
Drusilla Modjeska, The Mountain (Random House, 2012)


AN EASY WAY to get noticed in ‘policy circles’ is to write about how Australia and New Zealand are losing the Commonwealth nations of the Pacific to China. This geopolitical feeding frenzy draws in secret satellite dishes, bugs in submarine cables, a battle with Taiwan for votes, and President Xi Jinping’s grand-strategy-cum-bumper-sticker called the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that now seems to cover everything China does abroad. Beneath the blaring headlines lies a question: does the Commonwealth resonate at all for Chinese people recently arrived in the Pacific?... Read more

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From Griffith Review Edition 59: Commonwealth Now © Copyright Griffith University & the author.

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