The date 21 December 2017 marked the 45th anniversary of establishment of the diplomatic ties between Australia and China.
This was an important milestone for the ever-expanding relationship between the two countries and also an opportunity to celebrate the evolution and diversity of Australia-China relations. The bilateral relationship reflects not only strong economic, trade and political exchanges but a long history of people-to-people links which date back more than a century ago.
45 Years, 45 Stories is a collection of stories told from both the Australian and Chinese perspectives that speak to the breadth and depth of the friendship between the Australian and Chinese people.
Now let us read the story about Mr. Jesse Chang, who is an Australian National University alumnus.
Australian National University alumnus
The founder of TransAsia Lawyers
The founder of ChinaGoAbroad.com.
I was born in Taiwan to mainland-Chinese parents. At the age of eight, our family moved to Saigon, Vietnam, and then at 12, I left for Australia for schooling and did not go home for six years because my parents could not afford the airfare. Not surprisingly, I consider Australia to be my home, as it is where I spent my formative years. During this time, I received much love and care from my schoolmates and their families.
I treasured my five years at Ipswich Grammar School in Queensland and applied myself totally to my studies and of course sports! The school even generously extended a scholarship for my final two years. For my tertiary studies, I was lucky to have attended the Australian National University (ANU) and completed a double degree in economics and law.
After I graduated in 1980, I was offered a legal counsel position for Asia Pacific with Exxon in Hong Kong. Amazingly, I edged out 200 other applicants. On reflection, it was likely because I was one of the rare lawyers in those days who could speak both English and Mandarin.
After receiving the honour of being inducted into the ANU College of Business and Economics Hall of Fame, I began to consider how best to match-make Chinese students living in remote and regional areas (who have less tertiary educational opportunities in China) with ANU. I suggested to ANU that I would be willing to initiate and support a China scholarship program offering opportunities to candidates who face disadvantage in accessing university education.
In response, Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt further improved upon my proposal by deciding that tuition fee levels for the selected Chinese students would be lowered to the same as those for Australian students! I foresee the emergence of many talented Chinese ANU graduates from different backgrounds which will add to the warm relationship between Australia and China.
Without question, the scholarship recipients will experience the same Australian warmth and inclusion as I did.