A general view of a Australian flag is seen during a welcome ceremony for Australia’s then Prime Minister Julia Gillard outside the Great Hall of the People on April 9, 2013 in Beijing, China.
Feng Li | Getty Images
Raids on Chinese journalists living in Australia are “utterly appalling” and damage relations between the two countries, state news agency Xinhua said.
China’s state-backed tabloid Global Times reported earlier this week that Australian authorities raided the homes of four Chinese journalists residing in the country in June.
“This gross, imperious and unreasonable act was utterly appalling. It fully exposes the Cold-War mentality and political prejudice of some Australian departments and officials,” a Xinhua spokesperson said, according to the agency.
“What they have done not only seriously harms the reputation and image of Chinese media, but also seriously interferes with the normal people-to-people exchanges between China and Australia,” added the spokesperson, who was not identified.
On Thursday, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that such action from Australia “blatantly violates the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese journalists there and caused severe harm to the physical and mental health of the journalists and their families.”
Australia’s trade minister on Friday responded to the reports saying that security agencies had acted in accordance with the law.
Relations between the two major trading partners have become increasingly strained and news of the raids coincided with the exit of two Australian journalists from China.
The pair returned home with the help of consular officials after China’s state security visited their residences in Beijing and Shanghai and questioned them.
Another Australian citizen, Chinese television anchor Cheng Lei, was detained by Chinese authorities in August.