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China's warning against travel to Australia based on adequate facts: FM

(Xinhua)    10:13, June 09, 2020

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying Photo: fmprc.gov.cn

China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday that the alert against travel to Australia was based on adequate facts, as the country has seen a spike in racial abuse toward Chinese and other Asians during the COVID-19 pandemic, in response to an Australian reporter who questioned the warning.

"There are ample facts and arguments for China's travel alert to Australia," Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the ministry, said at a press conference. Hua noted that recently, discriminations against Chinese and other Asians in Australia have emerged, as widely reported by Australian media.

"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 said.

"Racist graffiti targeting China was seen in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and other Australian cities," she noted.

Data from the Australian Human Rights Commission showed that in the first quarter of 2020, hundreds of Asians complained of racial discriminations, which made up 25 percent of the complaints, according to Hua.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp reported that there were three racist attacks against Chinese families in one week in April. The state of New South Wales received 241 racial discrimination complaints between January and April 2020, while police in Queensland received 22 such reports from March to early May, said Hua.

Aren't these reports "persuasive enough?" asked Hua.

The Chinese government has always taken a responsible attitude and reminded Chinese nationals to take care of their own security, Hua noted.

"We also urge the Australian side to face up to the problem and take concrete measures to safeguard the safety and rights of Chinese in Australia," Hua said.

China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a travel alert on Friday, warning Chinese people not to travel to Australia, as the country had seen a significant rise in racial discrimination and violence against Chinese and other Asian people due to the pandemic.

Echoing Hua's response, dozens of Chinese overseas students in Australia reached by the Global Times said they have seen a surging number of media reports and social media posts about racist insults and attacks targeting Asians, especially Chinese, during the pandemic, and about one-third of them said they have experienced such abuse.

A student surnamed Yang at the University of Queensland told the Global Times that she received online and in-person abuse on campus recently.

"Anti-China news has been frequently seen on TV. We now choose to stay at home, and when I have to go outside and wear a mask, I avoid white people in case anything happens," Yang said.

Another Chinese student surnamed Yu at the University of South Wales said she received online insults with the words "CHINA DIE" after she commented on Twitter saying no evidence showed the novel coronavirus originated from China.

Similar incidents made the Chinese students distressed and concerned for their safety in Australia.

In April, a video of two individuals dragging, kicking and punching two Asian students at the University of Melbourne while shouting "you fxxking immigrant" multiple times went viral on social media.

In March, an anti China Australian rioter Drew Pavlou hung a sign on a wall at the University of Queensland's Confucius Institute that said it was a COVID-19 "biohazard" and uploaded a photo of it on Facebook.

However, ignoring the rampant racist abuse, Australian Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham, in rejecting the warning, claimed that Australia was "the most successful multicultural and migrant society in the world" and "the Chinese-Australian community is a significant and valued contributor," Australian media reported.

But Chinese analysts said that Birmingham's rebuttal was weak as it boasted of historical successes while failing to recognize the anti-China atmosphere that had risen in recent months, which betrayed its cultural traditions and instigated racism. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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