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The Australian National University
Neil Thomas

Mr Neil Thomas


Bachelor of Arts (Joint First Class Honours in Economics and Political Science & International Relations), University of Western Australia

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Neil Thomas is an inaugural Morrison Scholar at the Australian Centre on China in the World (CIW) of the Australian National University (ANU) and also works for the new public policy initiative China Matters. He is interested in Chinese foreign policy perspectives, Australia-China-US-Asia relations, Australian nation building and broadening youth participation in the Asian Century.

Neil was named one of the '25 Under 25 Rising Stars in US-China Relations' by China Hands magazine in November 2014. He is working on an Australia-China Archive covering the last ten years of the bilateral relationship, and has previously interned at the Peking University Australian Studies Centre, Danwei Media and Geoff Raby & Associates. He co-authored a policy paper on Australia-China relations that won the CIW New Voices Competition 2013, and has written articles for publications such as The Australian, The China Story Journal, The Diplomat and The Drum. Neil reads and speaks Chinese, and holds an HSK Level 6 qualification.

Neil served for three years as National Publications Director of the Australia-China Youth Association (ACYA), where he established the Journal of Australia-China Affairs, a peer-reviewed bilingual academic journal co-published by ACYA and the University of Sydney China Studies Centre (CSC). Neil is also Publications Manager of the Australia-China Youth Dialogue, former President of the UWA Politics Club and former Junior Policy Associate at the CSC.

Neil has been a Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Scholar at Tsinghua University and the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies, and a Chinese Government Scholar at Renmin University and Zhejiang University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with joint first-class honours in Political Science and Economics from the University of Western Australia, where he was a UWA Fogarty Scholar. 

Other Language

  • Chinese

Research Interests

  • Australia-China relations
  • Chinese foreign policymaking
  • Implications of China’s rise for Western liberal democracies
  • Cooperation and conflict in law enforcement and legal process between Australia and China
  • Western media discourse on China
  • Bureaucratic decision-making in China
  • The Chinese petition system
  • Improving the Asia/China capabilities of Australia
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Current Projects

  • The Australia-China Archive
  • The Australia Policy of China under Xi Jinping
  • The George E Morrison Foundation
  • Protocols: Australians in the Chinese Justice System
  • Lexicon: Australia-China
  • Five-Year Plan for Australian Public Policy
  • Network analysis of Chinese leaders
  • Journal of Australia-China Affairs
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Selected Publications

Contributions to The China Story

The Australia-China Archive, The China Story Journal, forthcoming 2015

‘Rhetoric and Reality – Xi Jinping’s Australia Policy’, The China Story Journal, 15 March 2015, online at:

Neil Thomas and Thomas Williams, ‘Australia Dreaming: Visions of a new China relationship’, The China Story Journal, 6 September 2013, online at:


Neil Thomas and Thomas Williams, ‘Australia Dreaming: Visions of a new China relationship’, in Geremie R Barmé and Ryan Manuel (eds.), A New Australia-China Agenda: Experts on the Australia China Relationship, Canberra: Australian Centre on China in the World, 2014.

‘Is China’s periphery becoming the core of its international relations?’, The Diplomat, 29 January 2015, online at:

 ‘Sow Connections, Reap Benefits 建立沟通纽带,收获共同利益’, Higher View Business 商道, September 2014, online at:

Review of Will China Dominate the 21st Century?, by Jonathan Fenby, in China Today, China Tomorrow, 28 March 2014, online at:

‘It’s not the Asian dream, it’s the reality’, The Australian, 30 August 2013, online at:

‘Asian White Paper or white elephant?’, The Drum, 28 August 2013, online at:

‘Are you still prostrating yourself before foreign milk powder?’, Danwei, 6 August 2013, online at:

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Related Websites

Updated:  3 October 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, China in the World /Page Contact:  China in the World