Dr Graeme Smith

BSc (Hons), PhD (Sydney); BA (UNSW), PhD (ANU)
Research Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
T: + 61 2 6125 6575

Areas of expertise

  • Studies Of Asian Society 169903
  • Government And Politics Of Asia And The Pacific 160606
  • Political Science 1606

Research interests

The political economy of: Chinese outbound direct investment in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, service delivery in rural China, development assistance, migration, resource projects and agribusiness.



I joined Political and Social Change (PSC) as a Visiting Fellow in July 2009, and took up a part time appointment in 2014. My main research interests are Chinese state and non-state actors in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, and the political economy of local government in rural China. I have authored several book chapters, as well as articles in The China Journal and The China Quarterly, and edited volumes of Pacific Affairs and Asian Studies Review. My recent project, undertaken in collaboration with Sinclair Dinnen and Paul D’Arcy, examined Chinese outbound direct investment in Papua New Guinea, and the migration and aid flows which have accompanied it. This research now includes other Pacific Nations (Samoa, Tonga and New Caledonia). With the support of UNDP China, DFAT and CAITEC, I worked with Pacific and Chinese researchers to develop recommendations for trilateral cooperation between China and Australia in the Pacific region. I work on the geopolitics of search engines, particularly Baidu and Google. I also host the Little Red Podcast with Louisa Lim of Melbourne University (http://www.chinoiresie.info/little-red-podcast/).

Career highlights

Appointment as senior lecturer and the University of Melbourne (2016) where I created the Little Red Podcast; appointment as a research fellow at the University of Sydney (2012); a postdoctoral fellow at UTS (2009); research associate at the ANU (2007), lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of NSW (1999-2004). Visiting scholar at Sun Yat Sen University (2013), and the School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University (2001). Various academic awards, including the best article prize for The Journal of Pacific History (2013), the Gordon White Prize for the best article in China Quarterly (2011), WJ Liu Esq. Memorial Prize (2001), UNSW-Tsinghua Scholarship (2001), Chinese Government Scholarship (1998-1999).

Researcher's projects

The Little Red Podcast. A monthly podcast on China beyond the Beijing beltway, hosted with Louisa Lim, former China correspondent for the BBC and NPR. The podcast is accompanied by monthly pieces in the Lowy Interpreter and the LA Review of Books, and is supported by the ANU's Chinoiresie and the University of Melbourne. http://www.chinoiresie.info/little-red-podcast/

The Geopolitics of Search: Baidu Goes Global. Joint project with Sarah Logan (UNSW). With support from the Internet Policy Observatory at the Annenberg School for Communication we compare search engine censorship in SE Asia.

Interactive Governance Analysis of the Beche-De-Mer ‘Fish Chain’ from Papua New Guinea to Asian Markets. Led by Kate Barclay (UTS) with support from the Packard Foundation, this project mapped the supply chain for the Beche-De-Mer trade prior to the re-opening of the fishery.

The Impacts of Chinese Aid and Development Projects on Governance in PNG. With Sinclair Dinnen and Paul D'Arcy (both ANU) and supported by an Australian Development Research Award from AusAID. Initially focused on the impact of the Ramu Nickel Mine in Madang Province, this project has expanded to examine the impacts of Chinese outbound direct investment (ODI), aid and migration in the Asia Pacific region. There are projects underway in China (Beijing, Fujian and Yunnan), PNG, New Caledonia, Tonga, Samoa, East Timor, Vanuatu, Fiji and Myanmar.

Current student projects


Col. Pete Connolly, Chinese and Australian interests in Melanesia

Shaun Gessler, China answers Yali’s question? Landowner politics at Ramu nickel


Beyongo Dynamic, Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in Australia and Zambia

Laurentina (Mica) Barreto Soares (Swinburne University), China and Timor-Leste’s state-building process

Past student projects

Denghua Zhang, A promising new trend? Factors driving growing Chinese trilateral aid cooperation

He Wenzheng (Tsinghua University)The preservation and cultivation of moralities in a Fijian village


Return to top

Updated:  23 May 2019 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers