Australian Embassy

Australia China Bilateral Relations

After establishing diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in 1972, Australia established an embassy in Beijing in 1973.

The Australia-China bilateral relationship is based on strong economic and trade complementarities and longstanding community and cultural links.

In 2014, the Australian Prime Minister and Chinese President agreed to describe the relationship as a "comprehensive strategic partnership".

In recent years, the relationship has come under strain. Nevertheless, the Australian Government remains committed to a mutually beneficial and respectful relationship with China in which we can pursue our shared interests, while remaining consistent with our own national sovereign interests.

Both sides acknowledge that Australia and China have different histories, societies and political systems, as well as differences of view on some important issues. Australia adheres to its one-China policy, which means we do not recognize Taiwan as a country. We maintain unofficial contacts with Taiwan promoting economic, trade and cultural interests.

Australia raises a wide range of human rights issues with China including freedom of expression, freedom of religion, treatment of political prisoners and ethnic minorities (including abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet), torture, the death penalty, and the rights of legal practitioners and civil rights activists. Where appropriate, we also raise our concerns at multilateral fora such as the Human Rights Council.

Australia has largely phased out bilateral aid to China. In recognition of China's growing role as an aid donor, Australia and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on development cooperation in 2013, which was renewed in 2017. The MoU facilitates cooperation in shared development objectives on issues of regional or global importance.

Australia's diplomatic network in China includes the embassy in Beijing and consulates in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenyang and Hong Kong. There are also eight Austrade offices across China, assisting Australian businesses to enter markets and promote Australia as an investment, tourism and education destination. Most Australian state governments are represented in China's leading commercial centres. Australia and China share around 100 sister-state/province and sister-city relationships.

More information on our bilateral relations