China has long had Australia in its sights, and money is its favored weapon. China accounts for roughly a third of Australia’s export earnings. Until recently, it was also a big investor in Australia. Chinese international students occupy 10 percent of all university places in Australia, and Beijing has funded Confucius Institutes at 13 of Australia’s 37 public universities. China-linked donors fund several Australian think tanks advancing China-friendly policies. Nearly every major public institution in Australia has a “China strategy.” China’s presence looms even larger in Australia’s much smaller neighbor, New Zealand. If there’s one region of the (notionally) Western world where China has staked its claim to the future, it’s in the Antipodes.
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