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September 3, 2022


#AusReadingMonth2022 Red Zone

by N@ncy


Red Zone China's Challenge and Australia's Future by Peter Hartcher by Peter Hartcher (no photo)

Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: A+++
Review: Red Zone (ISBN: 9781760642167)



  1. I read this book a few weeks ago but still wanted to share it
  2. for  #AusReadingMonth 2022.
  3. There are significant implications for Xi’s consolidation of power for Australia.
  4. It will be interesting to see how Australia’s new foreign minister, Penny Wong
  5. will “navigate the waters” between China and US and Australian’s interests!
  6. P. Hartcher was long listed for the Walkley Award 2021 for this book!


Good news: Hartcher explains how China works….
“Not like a hurricane coming hard and fast but more like
climate change long, slow, pervasive.” (pg 182)


Good news: Australia (and the world) should give this book a “prize” just because it wakes the country up …to see the risks of Chinas’s increasing infiltration of every level of life.


Good news: The writer explains in clear and easy terms what China is up to…not only in Australia but in many other countries.
Hartcher used the image of opiatic blue lotus that proved addictive to Odysseus’s crew to make clear what is happening. Australia’s elites becoming addicted to rising corporate profits and having a seat at the table of imperial power. Just think what happened this week: Solomon Islands refused entry to their port for US ships! Prime Minister  Solomon Islands ….taking a bribe from China?


Bad news: Chapters 1-5 can be a challenge for a reader who wants to know what is happening today! Hartcher’s writing plan moves slowly to give us some backstory. If you follow the news than there isn’t too much you don’t know. Stick with the book…skim chapters if you must because there is a LOT MORE to learn in later chapters.


Good news: My image of Mr Xi is becoming clearer. I knew nothing of his ‘difficult early years’ in China and in the CCP. Did you know Winnie de Pooh is banned in China because “the round-bellied bear with a shy smile and benign expression is thought to resemble Xi Jinping!” (pg 96)
Try to get that image out of your mind the next time you see Xi in the news!


Personal: China scares me…as it should scare us all!
What is China’s end game?
Read chapter 18 very carefully. Hartcher gives us China’s 14 demands ….the Rosetta Stone…for reading the psychology of Xi Jinping’s regime.
One of the strongest points in the book is Hartcher’s chapters laying out very clearly what Australia must do NOW!!!  China’s policy toward Australia has been “hostile” since 2017.
I fear Australia in very much in Xi Jinping’s cross-hairs!
This book is well worth your reading time…and EYE-OPENER!


Previous reviews:

  1. Quarterly Essay “Without America”
  2. Has China Won?
  3. The China Model
  4. A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China
  5. AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
  6. City On Fire: The Fight For Hong KongA. Dapiran finalist 2020 Australian Walkley Award


Read more from Uncategorized
4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sep 6 2022

    You’re scaring me! I had better read this book! I didn’t know the Solomon Islands banned our (U.S.) ships. Why????????

    Adding this to my TBR.


    • Sep 6 2022

      China wants to increase its influence in the Pacific region. News item probably overlooked but this has important implications: Prime Minister(Solomon Islands) Sogavare signed a secretive security pact with China in April. Again…just 3 weeks ago China’s Huawei signed a project to build 161 telecom towers in the islands. Now think about it…Huawei is accused of being a strong arm of Beijing’s “spy” network. If those towers can also gather info about others in the region (Australia, Nw Zealand….US on Guam) that is a win for Xi Jinping.
      PS: China is building a stadium for the Pacific Games on Solomon Islands in 2023…another way to build and insert “spy” options at the same time? Just so scary…


  2. Great review, Nancy! I thought I recognised the author’s name -he was /is a journalist for one of Sydney’s main newspapers.
    My son recommended ‘Destined for War’ by Graham Allison – not an Aussie author and focusses on the USA & China but still relevant for Aussies.
    I’d read about the Pooh Bear likeness before somewhere.


    • Nov 3 2022

      Thanks so much for your comment!
      I will look at the book your son recommended by G. Allison.
      Anything about the political juggernaut …Xi and China has my undivided attention!



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