|Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Remarks|
Journalist: According to reports, Australian intelligence agency staff raided the homes of four journalists working for three Chinese media organizations in June, seizing their computers and mobile phones. Can you confirm that? Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: As we learn from relevant news agencies, in late June this year, Australian security and intelligence staff raided, searched and questioned four Australia-based journalists working for the Xinhua News Agency, CNR and China News Service on the ground of possible violation of foreign interference laws, seizing their working computers and mobile phones, and even educational tablets and electronic toys for children. As we understand, the Australian side has not yet provided reasonable explanation for searching these journalists or returned all seized items.
I would like to stress that Chinese media journalists in Australia strictly abide by local laws and regulations, adhere to the principle of objectivity and fairness in their reporting, and have done a lot of work to promote mutual understanding and friendly exchanges between the two peoples, which has been widely praised by all sides. The behavior of the Australian government seriously disrupts the normal reporting activities of Chinese media in Australia, grossly violates their legitimate rights and interests, and causes serious damage to the physical and mental health of the journalists and their families. This fully exposes the hypocrisy of 'freedom of the press" and "respect and protection of human rights" as chanted by some in Australia and such act is by no means constructive. China has lodged solemn representations to the Australian side on multiple occasions. We urge the Australian side to immediately stop its barbaric and unreasonable acts, stop harassing and oppressing Chinese nationals in Australia under any pretext, ensure the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens, and stop doing anything that obstructs people-to-people exchanges and cooperation between the two countries.