Australia confirmed a raid on four journalists for China’s state media and said security agencies were working on evidence linked to a foreign intervention investigation into the June incident.
The raid was revealed this week by China’s Foreign Ministry, leaving China after two Australian journalists were questioned by Chinese police. Authorities demanded diplomatic protection after they were converted to their homes in Beijing and Shanghai.
Relations between Australia and top trade partner China have deteriorated as Canberra has angered Beijing to investigate the origin of coronovirus. China has responded to trade responses on products including alcohol, while Australia has tightened national security tests for foreign investment.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said that Australian security agencies acted according to the law.
When asked about the incident on the ABC News Breakfast television program, he said, “We respond appropriately to any foreign intervention concerns.”
“We do it purely in relation to the evidence,” he said.
The ABC separately reported that the raids on Chinese journalists in Australia were linked to an investigation into an alleged plot by the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate the country’s most populous New South Wales parliament.
Birmingham denied suggestions that a June raid provoked retaliation from Beijing, including an exit ban imposed on Australian Broadcasting Corp and Australian Financial Review newspaper journalists in China last week and consensual protection to the pair. Was demanded.
China has accused the Australian embassy of obstructing law enforcement after it sheltered two journalists, Bill Bertels and Michael Smith. last month, Australian Cheng Lei, who worked as a commercial anchor for Chinese state television, was detained by Chinese authorities in connection with alleged national security concerns..
Birmingham denied any interference in the cases of Bertels and Smith, saying that Australian embassy officials respected China’s procedures for negotiating a result.
He said, “The embassy worked diligently to ensure the safety of the persons concerned, but they collaborated with the Chinese authorities to ensure the resolution of the matter, in which the Chinese authorities had the opportunity to interview the concerned persons.”
Al Jazeera and news agencies