The Honourable Senator Marise Payne

PO Box 6100

Senate Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600


Dear Senator Payne:

As Australian scholars and analysts, we are deeply concerned about the recent detentions of Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in the People’s Republic of China. We ask the Australian Government without further delay to support Canada’s call for the immediate release of these two detainees.


Since December 21, the European UnionUnited StatesUnited KingdomGermany and France have each issued statements of concern regarding the apparently political motivation for the arrests of these Canadian citizens, which raise serious concerns about legitimate research and business practices in China. It is time for Australia to do the same. [Update: on December 30, Senator Payne released a statement on this matter.]

In view of the risks this raises to Australian research and business activities that form the bedrock of positive Australia-China relations, we respectfully ask you to join the above-mentioned governments in supporting the Canadian government's call for the immediate release of these two detainees.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel Baldino, Discipline Head of Politics and International Relations, Notre Dame University

Geremie R Barmé, Founding Director, Australian Centre on China in the World, Professor Emeritus, Australian National University

Mark Beeson, Professor of Political Science and International Relations, University of Western Australia


Nick Bisley, Head, Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of International Relations, La Trobe University


John Blaxland, Head, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University


David Brophy, University of Sydney


Carolyn Cartier, Professor of Human Geography and China Studies School of International Studies, University of Technology Sydney

Kevin Carrico, Monash University

Danielle Cave, Deputy Head of the International Cyber Policy Centre, Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Jie Chen, University of Western Australia

Andrew Chubb, Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia University

Michael Clarke, National Security College, Australian National University

Malcolm Cook, Non-Resident Fellow, Lowy Institute

Thomas Corben, United States Studies Centre, Sydney University

Gloria Davies, Professor, Monash University

Malcolm Davis, Senior Analyst - Defence Strategy and Capability, The Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Stephanie H. Donald, Visiting Professor, UNSW

Charles Edel, United States Studies Centre, Sydney University

Louise Edwards, Scientia Professor, UNSW

Michael Fabinyi, Senior Research Fellow, University of Technology Sydney

John Fitzgerald, Emeritus Professor, Swinburne University of Technology


Michael Fullilove, Executive Director, Lowy Institute


Benjamin Habib, Lecturer in Politics & International Relations, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Legal Studies, La Trobe University

Ian Hall, Professor, School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University

Shahar Hameiri, School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland


Mark Harrison, University of Tasmania


J. Bruce Jacobs, Emeritus Professor of Asian Languages and Studies, Monash University


Linda Jakobson, Founding Director and CEO, China Matters

Kanishka Jayasuriya, Head of Department of Politics and International Studies, Murdoch University

Andrew Kennedy, Australian National University

James Laurenceson, Deputy Director, Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI), University of Technology Sydney

Charlie Lyons Jones, Oxford University


John Lee, Senior Fellow, United States Studies Centre and Hudson Institute (Washington DC)

Lavina Lee, Macquarie University

Ryan Manuel, Hong Kong University


Richard McGregor, Senior Fellow, Lowy Institute


Rory Medcalf, Head, National Security College, Australian National University


Gil Merom, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Sydney

Kelsey Munro, Researcher, Lowy Institute

Adam Ni, Visiting Fellow, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University


Lynette H Ong, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto


Andrew O’Neil, Professor of Political Science, Griffith University

Matthew Robertson, Australian National University


Fergus Ryan, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Michael Sainsbury, Journalist & Photographer, former China Correspondent, The Australian


David Schak, Griffith Asia Institute


Ben Schreer, Macquarie University


William Sima, PhD Candidate, The Australian National University


Bec Strating, La Trobe University


Frederick Teiwes, Emeritus Professor, University of Sydney

Carlyle A. Thayer, Emeritus Professor, UNSW Canberra

Brendan Thomas-Noone, Research Fellow, United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney

Ashley Townshend, Director, Foreign Policy and Defence, United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney

Sue Trevaskes, Deputy Head of School (Research), School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Griffith University

Dirk van der Kley, PhD Candidate, The Australian National University

Merriden Varrall, Non-Resident Fellow, Lowy Institute

Tony Walker, Vice Chancellor's Fellow, La Trobe University

Chris Wallace, Research Fellow, School of History, The Australian National University

Michael Wesley, Dean, College of Asia & the Pacific, The Australian National University

Kyle Wilson, Visiting Fellow, The Australian National University, formerly Counsellor, Australian Embassy Beijing

(List of signatories as at January 3, 2019. Contact: [email protected])