Australia warns citizens against 'arbitrary detention' risk in China

WION Web Team Sydney, Australia Jul 08, 2020, 09.13 AM(IST)

File photo: Scott Morrison and Xi Jinping Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

Australia has already told its citizens to avoid all international travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the updated advice did not raise the overall level of the warning against travel to China.

Australia warned its citizens Tuesday they could face "arbitrary detention" if they travel to China, in an updated travel advisory amid growing tensions between the two nations.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia, Chinese authorities had detained foreigners for allegedly "endangering national security" and ''Australians may also be at risk of arbitrary detention''.

Australia has already told its citizens to avoid all international travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the updated advice did not raise the overall level of the warning against travel to China.

Also read: China warns citizens against studying in 'racist' Australia

The warning came days after the foreign ministry cautioned Australians about the possibility of running afoul of controversial new security laws enacted by China in Hong Kong.

China's foreign ministry said in response that "foreigners in China have absolutely nothing to worry about as long as they abide by the law."

Also read: Why Australia has more to lose than China in trade row

Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that China hoped Australia would "remain objective and fair and do more to benefit the development of China-Australia relations".

Tension between Australia and its biggest trading partner has been rising for months, and flared recently after Beijing reacted furiously to Canberra's leading role in calls for a probe into the origins of the coronavirus.

Beijing subsequently imposed tariffs on Australian goods and warned Chinese tourists and students about visiting the country because of alleged racial harassment against Asians.

Last year China arrested Australian-Chinese writer Yang Hengjun, who was indicted earlier this year for espionage.