Australia Warns Citizens They Risk ‘Arbitrary’ Arrest in China

Australia’s government warned citizens they risk “arbitrary” arrest in China following the detention of foreigners there on security grounds.

Any Australian in China who wants to come back should return as soon as possible, the department of foreign affairs and trade said in an updated travel advisory notice Tuesday.

“Authorities have detained foreigners because they’re ‘endangering national security,’” the department said. “Australians may also be at risk of arbitrary detention.” The government reiterated its advice to not go to China.

The warning reflects heightened global tensions, and concerns in countries including the U.K., the U.S. and Australia, after China enacted sweeping security powers to crack down on Hong Kong. Relations between China and Australia were already frayed after the government in Canberra called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in response on Tuesday at a briefing in Beijing that foreigners in China need not worry — as long as they abide by Chinese laws.

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