Australia Travel Advisory Warns Of 'Arbitrary Detention' In China

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Australia's warning to its citizens to be wary of travel to China is the latest sign of frayed relations
Australia's warning to its citizens to be wary of travel to China is the latest sign of frayed relations Pool / Lucas Coch

The Australian government has warned against travelling to China saying citizens may be “at risk of arbitrary detention.” This is amid a growing tension between the two states.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) reissued a travel advisory Tuesday warning Australians on the possibility of imprisonment if they enter the mainland. The Communist Party may detain foreigners it deems to be “endangering national security.”

“Authorities have detained foreigners because they're 'endangering national security.' Australians may also be at risk of arbitrary detention,” the update noted. 

It did note that China has not allowed most foreigners to enter the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. A 14-day mandatory quarantine will also be imposed should citizens still travel to the country despite the advisory. 

The department has previously advised the public not to travel overseas because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The level of advice has not been changed despite the update. 

The warning comes as Australia and China relations continue to sour. In April, Prime Minister Scott Morrison pushed for a global investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 and the initial response to the virus spread. It is believed the coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China. 

Beijing responded by threatening to boycott Australian products and education, one of the leading forces to its economy. It later banned beef exports from Australia. It also pointed to a growing number of racist cases in the Australia against Chinese nationals. 

China state-media also accused Canberra of espionage. In a June 29 report, Global Times claimed the Australian government is “waging an intensifying espionage offensive against China.”

Morrison dismissed the claims saying he “wouldn't be relying on Chinese state media” for information. 

The DFAT advisory is similar to one released for Hong Kong last week after Beijing signed into law a new national security law. It warned that citizens “can break the law without intending to.”

“The maximum penalty under this law in Hong Kong is life imprisonment,” it warned.

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