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About The Event

White Bay Beer Company – 26C Mansfield Street
Rozelle, NSW 2039 Australia
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

This event has been postponed due to COVID-19. If you are a ticket-holder, check your email for updates sent by Roaring Stories via Eventbrite.

Bill Birtles was rushed out of China in September 2020, forced to seek refuge in the Australian Embassy in Beijing while diplomats delicately negotiated his departure in an unprecedented standoff with China’s government. Five days later he was on a flight back to Sydney, leaving China without any Australian foreign correspondents on the ground for the first time in decades.

In his new book, The Truth About China, Birtles provides a journalist’s perspective on this rising global power, as Australia’s relationship with China undergoes an extraordinary change.

On Wednesday 30 June, join Birtles in conversation with Matthew Carney, Executive Producer at Foreign Correspondent, for an evening of deep and riveting discussion at the Balmain Peninsula’s first microbrewery, White Bay Beer Co. Tickets are $10 and available through Eventbrite.

Attendees are asked to arrive at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Seating is unallocated – another reason to arrive early to secure an optimal spot! The bar opens 6.30pm and closes at 9.30pm on the night of the event, making for an opportune time to grab a drink before or after.

The Truth About China will be available for purchase at the venue through Roaring Stories, with book signings from Bill Birtles following discussion.


A journalist’s perspective on this rising global power has never been more important, as Australia’s relationship with China undergoes an extraordinary change. The Truth About China is a compelling and candid examination of our ascendant and closest regional superpower, one that takes a magnifying glass to recent events, and looks through a telescope at what is yet to come. Thrilling and provocative, this book is filled with the people, stories and sticky situations from Bill Birtles’ five years as ABC correspondent.


Bill Birtles was the ABC’s China correspondent in Beijing from 2015 to 2020, his posting coming to a sudden end when he was rushed out of the country by Australian diplomats in an unprecedented diplomatic standoff. Reporting from both major cities and remote provinces throughout the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, he covered an era-defining period of change, upheaval and diplomatic tension as China asserted itself on the world stage. Originally from Sydney, Birtles first studied Mandarin in the Chinese capital and later worked inside the government’s most important state media and propaganda organ, the Xinhua newsagency, before returning to Beijing for the ABC. His next posting will be covering South-East Asia as the ABC’s Indonesia Bureau Chief – based in Jakarta.


Matthew Carney is the Executive Producer at Foreign Correspondent. Formerly, he worked as the ABC’s North Asia correspondent in Tokyo and China Correspondent based in Beijing. Previously he was a reporter at ABC’s Four Corners program. He has spent decades as a reporter and producer in all forms of journalism, from all over the world. Over his career, Carney has reported from some of the most dangerous and difficult locations including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, West Bank and Gaza, Libya, East Timor, West Papua, North Korea, Sierra Leone, Burma, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. He has won four Walkley awards and was a finalist 14 times. He also won a Logie, as well as a host of international awards for his journalism.


White Bay Beer Company will be the Balmain peninsula’s first microbrewery, a welcoming ‘working classy’ space located in a huge renovated 150-year-old steel mill. The venue is fully accessible, and with an open bar before, during and after the event. Entry signage will be clearly visible on the night of the event, with street parking in the surrounding area and bus stops nearby.

This event is presented by Roaring Stories Bookshop Balmain and Allen & Unwin

With thanks to our venue partner White Bay Beer Co

Please note that tickets are non-refundable.


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