China Tonight

Tuesday 1 June

8.00pm on ABC News Channel & 10.30pm on ABC TV

Stan Grant hosts a 6-part series on China – the superpower, its history and its people - in the lead up to the 100ᵗʰ anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.

With guest contributors bringing insights of life in China, from video gaming to the falling birth-rate; geo-political drum beating and the raging war of words over Xinjiang – the show will present the full complexity of modern china to an Australian audience.

Production Credits: Reporter - Stan Grant; EP – Annie White; Producers include Yvonne Yong and Michael Hing.


Good timing for the series


Program description has additional contributors plus studio / graphics updated

Stan Grant joins Yvonne Yong, Michael Hing and guests for a surprising look at modern China - with insights into the daily life of residents, from video gaming to the falling birth-rate; geo-political drum beating and the war of words over Xinjiang.


Tonight’s first episode features Stan Grant’s interview with Wang Xining, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Chinese Embassy in Canberra.

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With the prop microphone I can’t work out if Stan Grant is trying to be Johnny Carson or David Tench.


Or Paul Murray :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Except with more class and professionalism.


Season 2

Monday 13 September 9.30pm

Stan Grant and Yvonne Yong return to take a fresh look at news and current affairs from inside China.

Stan Grant returns, alongside co-host Yvonne Yong, and reporters including comedian Annie Louey and Jinghua Qian and many others in a new series of China Tonight. Understand China beyond the headline trade wars and global posturing.

In Season One, Stan and the team attempted to bring more depth and complexity to the China story – with compelling interviews (Deputy ambassador Wang Xining. HK activist Ted Hui and Artist Ai Wei Wei) – and deep dives into social issues like the population crisis and video game culture.

Season Two will bring stories of China’s rise in the world, and the changes and challenges at home – disability rights, Chinese medicine, and the phenomenon of school tutoring!

► Note: now scheduled for main channel. Previously aired on ABC News first then repeated @ 10:30 on ABC TV.


Omg I’m so excited. I was hoping it would return but didn’t actually expect it. For the ABC’s coverage on the 100th anniversary of the CCP, I wrote a message on the blog post expressing that I would love to see more of the show. I added that I thought it would be in the public interest, saying that ABC has Planet America for most of the year, for example — why not an ongoing show on China?

(Particularly with the current context of them being two global superpowers.)

I’m not Chinese myself (though I am Asian) but I really appreciate Stan Grant’s reporting on international affairs in general. I read most of his recent book, With the Falling of the Dusk, and I did really feel that it is an advantage to be able to have that extra perspective of someone “looking at the world through the eyes of someone who is in the West but not necessarily of the West”, (because a lot of people in the West seem to have mistaken impressions about China)

"I’m looking at the world through the eyes of someone who is in the West but not necessarily of the West, who loves the ideas of liberalism and democracy and yet knows that they come with empire and colonisation and violence.”
‘The West humiliated them’: Stan Grant on what white people don’t understand about China

I feel embarrassed by something that an ABC viewer wrote on Twitter that I find just indicting on them and others who liked it (I know, I know, it’s Twitter and it usually brings out the worst in people and highlights everything awful.)

But the thing is, it’s not really unusual, which is part of the problem. I.e. people have these kinds of opinions on journalists and others, on whether they like or dislike that person, without really realising that they’re doing that (offering an opinion, that is), as they seem to somehow believe that their opinion is objective.

I happened to be browsing another politicians account — I don’t have an Twitter account myself but most things are publicly viewable — and I saw Stan Grant’s name trending, so, wondering, I clicked it (which I regretted doing, because of what people posted.)

It was after a Four Corners program, called Chairman for Life, which Grant hosted. In that program, what I recall most is that I really appreciated how he delved into a particular question with a correspondent, I think, asking along the lines of, “why did people embrace the CCP even after how the CCP treated them?” And the correspondent (I can’t remember her role off the top of my head), she eventually had an answer of, “I think it’s common in China that people want their suffering to mean something.” (I can definitely attest to that sentiment in my own culture.)

So the tweet said along the lines of “why does the ABC have Stan Grant on? What does Stan Grant know about China?” I kind of find it astounding, still (it was also high on the trending page as it amassed hundreds of likes, but I didn’t look further).
Stan Grant reported in China and other places, as part of his role at CNN, across a period of like a decade. (He wrote about some of these in With the Falling of the Dusk and I did see that it was in Talking to My Country but I didn’t get up to that chapter yet — I read a bit of that in my local library.)

During an interview with Deputy ambassador Wang Xining last season, Minister Wang even included in a comment to Grant, “you understand my country much more profoundly than some of your compatriots”. ( [exchange from about 17:02 mark on the video] )
People may have different opinions on that comment, and Grant may have another opinion on that himself.
But I guess the problem, that I realise I’m getting at, is more about this — people expect other people to be in boxes. They expect indigenous people to report only on indigenous issues, etc. (that particular box is something that Grant has said he really wanted to avoid before)

Stan Grant: 'Black Australia is a foreign place and I feel like a foreign correspondent in my own land' | Stan Grant Indigenous affairs editor | The Guardian [2015]
Award-winning journalist Stan Grant was careful never to be typecast as ‘the Aboriginal reporter’. But the booing of Adam Goodes made him rethink his whole career. Here he explains why he’s now joining Guardian Australia as its first Indigenous affairs editor […]

I have never wanted to be defined as the “Aboriginal reporter”. I have always wanted to be judged good or bad alongside my colleagues as a journalist in my own right, covering the same stories as the reporter alongside me. I have fought against being typecast or marginalised; I wanted the right to explore the whole world.

I want people to stop putting other people in boxes. When I think of why I feel embarrassed by the tweet, I guess it’s that I watch the ABC with these people.


Great analysis.

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Caps from last night:


Monday 20 September 9:35 pm

How will China react to Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine deal? Angharad Yeo checks out the Great Firewall’s impact on social media scrolling plus Annie Louey goes back to school to look at the ban on private tutoring.

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