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China Australia ties under strain over recent raids on journalists from both the sides

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China Australia

China strongly condemned the recent raid conducted by Australian officials on Chinese journalists as “utterly appalling”. China’s state news agency Xinhua said, “This gross, imperious and unreasonable act was utterly appalling. It fully exposes the Cold-War mentality and political prejudice of some Australian departments and officials.”

This is believed to damage the ties between the two nations. Earlier this week, China’s state-backed tabloid Global Times reported that Australian authorities raided the homes of four Chinese journalists living in the country in June.

Reacting to the incident, a Xinhua spokesperson said, “What they have done not only seriously harms the reputation and image of Chinese media, but also seriously interferes with the normal people-to-people exchanges between China and Australia.”

On Thursday, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that such action from Australia “blatantly violates the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese journalists there and caused severe harm to the physical and mental health of the journalists and their families.”

On Saturday, China News Service joined the condemnation of the raids and said that it “grossly violated the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese media reporters stationed in Australia, and caused serious damage to the physical and mental health of journalists and their families”.

On Friday, Australia’s trade minister defended his country’s actions as a security matter. He said security agencies had acted in accordance with the law.

Australia accused China of similar doings in the past. On Monday, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said that record 17 foreign journalists were expelled from the country in the first half of 2020.

Last week, Chinese authorities conducted similar raids on two Australian journalists in China, who later reached Australia with the help of consular officials. The pair was visited by China’s state security at their residences in Beijing and Shanghai and interrogated. Besides, last month Chinese authorities detained another Australian citizen, a Chinese television anchor Cheng Lei, citing national security investigation as the reason. The relationship between Australia and China has deteriorated over recent years but the episode of raids on either side is believed to have caused big blow to the trust and ties of the two major trading partners.

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