China bans two Australian academics from entering country – blames national security | World | News

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The Global Times newspaper, published by the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, said the decision to bar Clive Hamilton and Alex Joske came after Australia revoked the visas of two Chinese scholars over “alleged infiltration” in early September.

China’s foreign ministry did not confirm the entry bans, but said during a regular briefing on Thursday that the country has the right to bar any foreign national and blamed Australia for difficulties in relations.

Spokesman Wang Wenbin said: “We firmly oppose any acts to deliberately attack China, endanger China’s national security, or spread disinformation under the pretext of studies and other academic activities.’ 

Ties have become strained over issues from trade disputes to Australia’s call for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus that first emerged in China late last year, and by accusations of Chinese meddling in domestic affairs.

Mr Hamilton, one of the scholars banned from China, said: “This ban is quite unexpected, although I have been on Beijing’s enemy list for some years.”

He said the bannagainst him and Mr Joske was “retaliation” for the Australian government’s actions against Chinese scholars and that he had already decided “two or three years ago” it would be too dangerous to travel to China.

Mr Hamilton added: “Only when Beijing decides to stop interfering in Australian politics and attempting to bully the Australian government will relations improve. I hope that happens soon.”

In a 2018 book, Mr Hamilton, a professor of public ethics at Australia’s Charles Sturt University, accused China’s Communist Party of a campaign to exert influence in Australia’s domestic politics.

While, Mr Joske is an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which the Global Times called “infamous for churning out anti-China propaganda and fabricating anti-China issues.”

He said on Twitter that the ban is the “latest in a series of attempts by the Chinese Communist Party to punish those who shine a light on its activities” and that he had also judged the risk of travelling to China to be “too high.”

Mr Joske tweeted: “While I grew up in China and would love to return in better times, I decided years ago that the Chinese government’s actions have made the personal risk from travelling to China too high.

“I have not held or applied for a Chinese visa in years.”

Australia has been pushing for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak to help prevent future pandemics.

But the move has angered China, its largest trading partner, which believes such a call is anti-China propaganda.

In retaliation, Chinese customs authorities suspended four large beef exporters from Australia and threatened to introduce a tariff of up to 80 percent on Australian barley shipments.


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