China has issued a fresh travel warning over Australia, claiming police have “arbitrarily searched” Chinese citizens and “seized their articles”.
It’s the latest escalation in rhetoric as relations between the two countries come under increasing strain.
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In the new message, posted by the Ministry of Foreign affairs in Beijing to its website, it is also claimed the Australian media “continue to incite anti-China and hatred of China sentiments”.
“Recently, there has been a marked increase in racial discrimination and violence in Australia,’ the message states.
“Relevant Australian law enforcement agencies have arbitrarily searched Chinese citizens and seized their articles, which may cause harm to the personal and property safety of the Chinese citizens in Australia.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy and Consulates in Australia remind Chinese citizens to be extra careful about the local security risks and be cautious about travelling to Australia in the near future.”
It comes just days after Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade warned Australians not to travel to China, under renewed advice posted to the Smartraveller website.
It warned that Chinese authorities had detained foreigners because they were seen to be “endangering national security”.
‘Do not travel to China’
“Australians may also be at risk of arbitrary detention,” it read.
“We haven’t changed our level of advice. Do not travel to China.”
The new warning, combined with Australia’s concerns over the new security law in Hong Kong has led China to warn that relations are nearing breaking point.
Australia has offered a path to permanent residency for thousands after Hong Kong passed the new laws cracking down on dissent.
China labelled the move “gross interference” in the latest escalation of a bitter diplomatic row with Canberra.
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian strongly condemned the moves.
“China urges Australia to immediately change course, stop intervening in Hong Kong affairs and China’s domestic affairs, and prevent further harm to China-Australia relations,” he said in Beijing.