The Romance of China

One my PhD students is working on a manuscript about her honours thesis, which looked at, in part, the implicit prejudice that White Australians may hold towards people who are ethnic Chinese.  Much like in the American West at the time, Chinese immigrants faced riots and other forms of severe discrimination in late 19th Century Australia.  This led to the "White-Australia" immigration policy of the country, which wasn't really dismantled until the early 1970s. Since then, the number of Chinese immigrants has steadily increased, and Chinese Australians are indeed a vital part of modern, "multi-cultural" Australia.  Still, ethnic prejudice exists, and my student did find that it predicted discrimination on a simple decision about whether an applicant should be given a scholarship.

More broadly, my beloved New York Times has a great article today about Australia's uneasy relationship with China. The article discusses Australia's heavy reliance on mining exports to China, which has been the primary reason why Aussies have enjoyed such a brilliant economy in the past decade. Now the Chinese want to increase those exports and own more of those companies, mines, and land that produce them. There's a slowly building antipathy towardsChina as a whole, which should have some interesting implications for how Australians view the Chinese (and Chinese immigrants) in the coming years.