The ABC was one of the first foreign media organisations to establish a presence in China, opened in October 1973.
Paul Raffaele was the first ABC correspondent and began his reporting from room 515 in the Hsin Chiao Hotel, until a permanent office could be found.
ABC Managing Director, Mark Scott said, “The ABC is proud of its long and deep investment in international coverage. This is symbolised by our Beijing bureau: few organisations can boast having a continuous presence in such an important location.
“It demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that Australians are fully apprised of what is happening in the world around them. We look forward to many more decades of coverage from one of the centres of world power.”
ABC held a similar event for the 35th anniversary, as part of a push to get the ABC’s international satellite television service Australia Network into the country.
Since 1973, the ABC has had 20 China Correspondents, based in Beijing, including current journalists, Stephen McDonell and Australia Network’s correspondent, Huey Fern Tay. Former ABC China correspondents include Helene Chung, Ali Moore, Sally Neighbour, Jane Hutcheon, John Shovelan, Eric Campbell and John Taylor. In addition to the Beijing based journalists, there were also ABC correspondents located in Hong Kong from the mid-sixties through to the mid-nineties.
Over the past four decades, ABC journalists reporting from Beijing have brought audiences eye witness accounts of significant events and reported on a country opening up to the world. In recent years Stephen McDonell and the local ABC Beijing team have provided award winning coverage of the devastating Sichuan earthquake, been part of the ABC’s coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Paralympics, done hundreds of stories, from trekking through deserts in 45 degree heat, to gaining unprecedented access to China’s drug cops.
Coinciding with the 40th anniversary, ABC International has released a free bilingual Mandarin/English mobile phone App which is available for download from the iTunes China App Store and Android App stores. The app showcases the best of Australian life covering the arts, science, business, education and entertainment.