My name is Peter Cai. I’m the new editor of China Spectator. My colleague Fergus Ryan will be reporting from Beijing soon.
I don’t think it’s necessary for me to tell you about the importance of China to Australia or indeed the world. Suffice to say the country is on a transformational path – from being the factory of the world to the world’s largest consumer market.
Though China has largely freed itself from evangelical Maoism, it is still living under the shadows of an authoritarian Communist Party, which is not in a hurry to implement political reform. But there is an emerging consensus in civil society that further economic reform is not possible without accompanying political change.
Covering China well and accurately is a huge challenge. The country is big, complex, and dynamic. What is true in Beijing or Shanghai not may be so accurate in coastal provinces like Fujian or Guangdong.
China is also a fast changing place, where business conditions, regulatory and political environments are evolving at breath-taking pace.
Increasingly, China is also coming to our door step, from companies investing abroad to 80 million jet-setting tourists who are exploring the world beyond the Great Wall.
We tend to observe China from certain prisms, one party dictatorship, human rights abuses, a slowing economy teetering on the edge and a bellicose foreign policy that is threatening regional stability.
While many observations are true, they don’t capture the dynamism of the Chinese economy or it’s society.
Social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat are acting like foreign concessions in early 20th century China, which provided crucial open space for citizens to engage in lively debate about off-limit topics.
Heroic investigative reporters are bringing down corrupt officials and exposing corporate scandals.
There is also no shortage of commentators criticising Beijing’s policies – though challenging the legitimacy of the Party is still off limit.
A powerful private sector, which employs more than half of the country’s labor force, is transforming China’s economic landscape. Companies like Alibaba, Lenovo, Huawei, and Tencent are simply world-class and they’re taking on their more established Western rivals.
A young generation of private entrepreneurs, who are mostly educated in the West are re-thinking their relationship with the government and looking for opportunities abroad. They usually maintain a second home in places like New York or Melbourne.
At China Spectator, we want to bring you fresh stories about China. We want to take you to a less well trodden path and challenge what you know about the next superpower. We want to be a conduit to bring you the best economic and business writing in the Chinese language, an often overlooked but important source.
We want you to meet Chinese heirs or heiresses to some of the largest industrial empires in China and understand what they think about business and the future of their country. China Spectator will keep abreast of what influential Chinese think-tanks and opinion makers are talking about.
We welcome suggestions and ideas about what you want to know about China. Feel free to write to us.
I am excited to go on a journey of discovery with you about our most important economic partner.
From your China Spectator team,
Peter Cai (蔡源) and Fergus Ryan.