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Australia:The government has the right to conduct intelligence searches to avoid foreign interference

               The government has the right to conduct intelligence searches to avoid foreign interference

As the conflict between Australia and China intensifies, Peter Ddutton, the Australian Minister of the Interior, stated that the Australian government has the right to conduct intelligence searches to avoid foreign interference. Previously, China condemned Australia for searching the homes of Chinese journalists stationed in Australia.

Dutton made the above statement in an interview with ABC Television on Sunday (September 13). Although Dutton did not explicitly refer to China, before he made this comment, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Beijing correspondent Bill Birtles and the Australian Financial Review (Australian Financial Review) Shanghai correspondent Mike · After being questioned by Chinese national security officials, Mike Smith took an emergency flight to leave China with the assistance of Australian consulate officials.

Talking about the incident, the spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zhao Lijian said that the Australian Embassy in China arranged for Australian journalists to enter the Australian Embassy in China to evade the investigation after the Chinese authorities requested them to cooperate in the investigation. These actions went beyond the scope of consular protection and interfered in China’s internal affairs. And judicial sovereignty.

Australia denies Zhao Lijian's allegations. Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham responded on September 11 that the Australian Embassy in China has provided the support that people expect to Australians in difficulty, especially journalists working in foreign countries.

In addition, Cheng Lei, a Chinese-Australian journalist who hosted a financial program for the English Channel of China Global Television Network (CGTN), was arrested in Beijing last month. The Chinese authorities accused her of spying.

When asked about the arrest of Cheng Lei in China, Dutton said that Australia hopes to work closely with China on Cheng Lei and Australia will continue to do so.

Dutton did not confirm on Sunday that the Chinese journalist working in Australia was questioned by the Australian intelligence agency in June this year. He said that the investigation is ongoing.

But Dutton said that if you work in Australia as a journalist and report the news fairly, that’s okay, but journalists should not  provide biased coverage for a specific group.

Dutton said that If someone pretends to be a journalist, business leader or whoever pretends to be, and there is evidence that they are violating Australian law in the opposite nature, then Australian government agencies will take action.

Chinese state media Xinhua News Agency and China News Agency issued statements on September 11 and 12 respectively, expressing strong dissatisfaction and dissatisfaction with the Australian Security Intelligence Agency’s raids and questioning of reporters from these two agencies and the seizure of reporters’ interview equipment and personal belongings. strongly oppose.

The Australian-Chinese struggle against journalists has further deteriorated relations between the two countries. Last week, Beijing also lashed out at a foreign intervention investigation conducted by Australia. The investigation involved several Chinese scholars and Chinese journalists based in Australia.

Australian media reported on September 10 that it is believed that six Chinese citizens who were engaged in espionage or foreign intervention in Australia were denied entry to Australia or left Australia after being questioned by intelligence agencies.

Since Australia called on the international community to launch an independent investigation into the source of the new crown virus earlier this year, Australia-China relations have taken a turn for the worse. China threatens that the Australian government will face serious consequences if it does not stop such activities. Subsequently, China imposed a punitive tariff of up to 80% on Australian barley, stopped the import of Australia's three major beef exporters, initiated anti-dumping investigations against Australian wine, and restricted Chinese tourists and students from going to Australia.

The Australian government announced that it recommended to block a Japanese holding company from selling the original Australian beverage company to a Chinese company. This decision makes Beijing unhappy.

What makes Beijing even more angry with Australia is that Australia supports the Hong Kong democracy movement and accuses China of territorial expansion and militarization in the South China Sea.

In response to China's multiple retaliatory measures, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated that he will not be intimidated by China, nor will he succumb to coercion to change his values.

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