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Oz searches homes of Chinese journalists in tit-for-tat raids

TENSIONS between China and Australia took a new twist when Australian security forces raided homes of Chinese journalists, and seizing what electronics they found, reports Bloomberg

10 September 2020 - 19:00

TENSIONS between China and Australia took a new twist when Australian security forces raided homes of Chinese journalists, and seizing what electronics they found, reports Bloomberg.

In a tit-for-tat action in response to similar Chinese security forces raids on the homes of Australian journalists in China, the homes of four Chinese journalists in Australia were raided and the authorities confiscated computers and phones, including electronics belonging to their children.



Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian's statement confirmed earlier media reports, and comes just days after the last two journalists for Australian media in China fled the country following police questioning.



The Chinese government has made numerous protests about the issue to Australia, Zhao told a regular news briefing in Beijing. The raids were carried out on journalists from Xinhua News Agency, China Media Group and China News Service, he said, and not all the confiscated items have been returned.



Australia and China has been locked in a dispute over Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's demand for independent investigators be allowed into Wuhan to probe the origins of the coronavirus.



The media are only the latest sector to get swept up in the fight, after China curbed or launched trade actions against imports of Australian beef, wine and barley.



Beijing has confirmed that Cheng Lei, an Australian television anchor who had worked for Chinese state media, was being held over suspected state security violations. Australia was informed mid-August that she had been detained.



At least one Chinese journalist in Australia was questioned by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Sydney Morning Herald reported earlier, citing senior Australian security sources. The investigation was in connection with an inquiry into a state lawmaker, the paper said.



That was the same day that New South Wales state lawmaker Shaoquett Moselmane had his home and office raided by police. He later said the probe was linked to people allegedly advancing the goals of the Chinese government and denied being a suspect.


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