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War and Peace in the Asian Century


A Chinese friend here in Beijing was talking the other day about the difference between xifang and dongfang – the West and the East. She said that “of course” Australia, which she hasn’t visited, is a country of xifangren – Westerners – and described their Caucasian physical features. But this stereotype can no longer be applied to Australia, with its many ethnicities, including a million citizens of Chinese heritage.

So is Australia “Western” or “Asian”? Most people would still say Western. But in many aspects, including our economy, culture and sport (Australia in 2015 not only hosted but won the Asian Cup, the premier contest in the region’s premier sport, soccer), we increasingly appear more Asian.

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