Nostalgia has taken hold of Australian reporters who have covered China. For the first time since 1973, when Fairfax journalist Margaret Jones set up a Peking bureau in the thaw engineered by Chairman Mao and Comrade Gough, there is not a single Australian journalist in China working for an Australian outlet.
Consider that. China is hoovering up our iron ore at US$200-plus a tonne, while punishing our exporters of barley, timber, lobster and wine. Yet we have no direct public insight into our most powerful trading partner. Our ministers’ calls go unanswered. The headlines beat on about “drums of war”.