Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

China accuses Australian leader of undermining trust

Lindsey Cook | 09 December, 2017, 13:55

"Such remarks simply cater to the irresponsible reports by some Australian media that are without principle and full of bias against China", Mr Geng said at a regularly scheduled briefing.

Turnbull added: "Media reports have suggested that the Chinese Communist Party has been working to covertly interfere with our media, our universities and even the decisions of elected representatives right here in this building".

It comes after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Friday said he took reports that China's Communist Party had sought to interfere in Australia very seriously.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China was "astonished" by Turnbull's statements, which risk "poisoning" the bilateral relationship.

Australia's peak domestic intelligence agency won't say if it has uncovered links between 10 recent political candidates and Chinese intelligence agencies.

'It poisons the atmosphere of the China-Australia relationship and undermines the foundation of mutual trust and bilateral cooperation'.

Earlier in the week, the Chinese embassy in Canberra issued a fiery statement denying it interfered in the politics of other countries and accusing Australian media of peddling racism towards Chinese students.

"There has been foreign interference in Australian politics".

Mr Turnbull announced the new laws on Tuesday, following Labor Senator Sam Dastyari standing down from his senior role as Labor's deputy senate whip late last month over questions about his dealings with China.

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Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop had earlier called for Dastyari to quit Parliament after a tape emerged showing the Senator speaking out in defense of China's policy in the South China Sea past year, which essentially contradicted official ALP policy.

Australia was setting the terms of a "healthy and sustainable relationship" with China by introducing the foreign influence laws, he said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in Beijing he was "shocked" at what Turnbull had said.

The prime minister has squarely put the blame for any diplomatic tension back on Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, questioning Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's decision to allow him to stay in the Labor Party.

"What Labor is doing with Dastyari will result in nothing more than complete contempt of Australia and particularly the Australian Labor party in Beijing".

Dr Davis said Australia should not be "bullied" by China and such interference challenged our destiny as a Western, liberal democracy.

"Our population is changing".

Investigators believe China is trying to influence Australian politics by targeting state and local government elections.

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