October 2021

Chinese-Australians must be judged on facts not hysteria

A first ever comprehensive report to highlight the social and economic contribution of Chinese-Australians to the nation

Australia will be given a new insight into the lives of Chinese-Australians through a landmark initiative, the Chinese Australians Report, which will quantify the contributions of more than 1.2 million Australians of Chinese origin.

The report, due for release in the first half of 2022, is an initiative of independent news website APAC News and will aim to debunk many commonly held misconceptions about Chinese-Australians.

It will highlight both their positive contributions to life in Australia and shine a light on areas where Chinese-Australians are unrepresented such as boardrooms, the media and arts, at senior levels of the public service and politics.

Says, APAC News editor and publisher, Marcus Reubenstein, “For a variety of reasons there is simply no comprehensive data about Chinese-Australians and, because of that, numerous myths promulgate.

“The most sinister myth is that Chinese-Australians have divided national loyalties or even worse it’s suggested their loyalties are with the People’s Republic of China. Based on demographics alone, such a blanket suggestion is patently absurd—six out of every ten Australians of Chinese ethnicity were not even born in Mainland China.”

For the past two years, the Asian Australian Alliance has conducted a Covid-19 incident survey, chronicling attacks where perpetrators had specifically claimed their targets were sources of the coronavirus, however, half of those Asian victims were not even ethnically Chinese.

A Lowy Institute report from March 2021 found one in five Chinese-Australians had been physically threatened in the previous twelve months, yet the overwhelming majority of Chinese-Australians reported feeling “a sense of belonging, acceptance and pride living in Australia.”

The Chinese Australians Report will cover five major topic areas:

  • Demographics
  • Business and Economic Impact
  • Social Contribution
  • The Arts and Culture
  • Institutional Bias

A great part of the report will involve aggregating, and extrapolating, data from existing research and surveys. In addition, there will be surveys and polling conducted by independent research companies; and case studies of individuals excelling in their fields.

The report will be an independent project which aims to become a collaborative effort of key stakeholders and experts in the Chinese-Australian space. Preliminary discussions have been held with several Australian academic and research bodies; and it is expected that announcements on partnerships will be made shortly.

Reubenstein is a second generation Hungarian-Australian whose family arrived as refugees following the 1956 Hungarian uprising.

He says, “The challenges face by Asian-Australians today are strikingly similar to those which faced my family after landing here in the midst of the White Australia Policy. On multiple occasions both my parents were flatly refused jobs on the basis that they were not of Anglo extraction.

“Whilst official policies of racially based prejudice may have ended, one need only look into the composition of Australia’s federal parliament to understand the remnants of this discrimination well and truly remain.”