China Defends Travel Warning Against Australia, Cites 'Ample Facts' Point To Racism Spike

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Tensions between China and Australia have escalated in recent weeks following Canberra's call for an independent inquiry into the origins and spread of the coronavirus
Tensions between China and Australia have escalated in recent weeks following Canberra's call for an independent inquiry into the origins and spread of the coronavirus AFP / NICOLAS ASFOURI

China is defending its decision to issue a travel warning against Australia for what it says is an increase in racial abuse among Asians. 

At a press conference Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said there are “ample facts” that show a spike in racism in Australia over the past few months. The discrimination increased as the world battled the COVID-19 pandemic, believed to have originated in Wuhan, China. 

"There are ample facts and arguments for China's travel alert to Australia," Hua said, noted state-run publication, Global Times

"For example, some Australian politicians and media called the coronavirus a 'Chinese virus' and maliciously tampered with the Chinese national flag and national emblem. Many overseas Chinese in Australia have been verbally insulted or even attacked, the property of some Chinese and other Asian families was destroyed and they suffered unfair treatment in their daily work."

Hua also pointed to racist graffiti found in Sydney, Melbourne and other cities. According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, there have been “persistent reports” of racist abuse in the country. It cited instances where Chinese and other Asians were “barred from restaurants, schools and other areas of public life.”

Hua urged Australia to take concrete measures to solve this problem and safeguard the rights of Chinese in the country.

On Friday, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued an alert warning its people not to travel to Australia following a “significant increase” in racist attacks. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack rejected these claims, however. He says there is no basis for such claims. 

“I don't know why this has been stated, I don't know what was in the thinking of the organisation or the person who made the statement, all I can say is the statement is not true," McCormack said.

China’s move adds to the growing tension between the two states following Canberra’s call for an independent investigation into the origins and global response to COVID-19.

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