Chinese state media accuse Australia of raiding journalists’ properties

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picture captionAustralia and China’s relationship has deteriorated additional this 12 months
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China’s state media says Australian brokers raided the properties of Chinese journalists in June, within the newest flare of tensions between the nations.

The stories come a day after the final two journalists working in China for Australian media flew house after a tense diplomatic stand-off.

On Wednesday, two state mouthpieces stated the Chinese reporters had been requested to not report the June incident.

Australian police and intelligence businesses stated they might not remark.

The “raids” occurred on an unspecified variety of Chinese journalists’ properties by Australian intelligence officers on 26 June, reported China’s state information company Xinhua.

The reporters had been instructed to “be silent” in regards to the incident, Xinhua stated, with out citing sources.

Another state media outlet, The Global Times, stated the Chinese journalists had been questioned and their computer systems and smartphones seized, citing an unnamed supply “near the matter”.

It additionally cited nameless consultants as saying: “The incident uncovered Australia’s hypocrisy in upholding so-called “freedom of the press”.

Mike Smith and Bill Birtles at Shanghai airport on Mondaypicture copyrightABC
picture captionAustralian reporters Mike Smith and Bill Birtles left China on Monday
According to Xinhua the raids occurred on the identical day the home and office of Australian politician Shaoquett Moselmane were raided.

In an announcement on Wednesday, the Australian Security Intelligence Agency (Asio) stated: “As is long-standing follow, Asio doesn’t touch upon intelligence issues.”

Mr Moselmane, a state lawmaker in New South Wales (NSW), has beforehand stated he isn’t a suspect in an Australian investigation into allegations that Chinese brokers infiltrated his workplace.

Australian media stated on Wednesday that Chinese journalists had been a part of a WeChat group linked to a part-time staffer of Mr Moselmane.

“Counterespionage company Asio questioned at the very least one Chinese journalist in Australia in connection to an investigation involving a staffer of suspended NSW Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane,” reported The Sydney Morning Herald.

Xinhua claimed Mr Moselmane had been focused for his reward of China’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Shaoquett Moselmanepicture copyrightABC NEWS
picture captionAustralian lawmaker Shaoquett Moselmane has denied any wrongdoing

Relations between Australia and China have been strained lately and plummeted sharply after Canberra backed a world inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

The raid allegations come a day after Bill Birtles from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Mike Smith from the Australian Financial Review – the final correspondents to be based mostly in China for Australian media – landed in Sydney on Tuesday after a five-day diplomatic standoff.

The pair had been finally allowed to depart China after being interviewed by police over the case of one other Australian journalist being held within the nation.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China stated on Monday that a record 17 foreign journalists were expelled from the country in the first half of 2020.

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