Foreign Minister Marise Payne accused China of spreading “false information” about Covid-19 and posing a racist threat in Australia.
“Misinformation only adds to anxiety and division, while what we need now is cooperation and understanding,” Secretary of State Payne said at an event at the Australian National University in Canberra today. .
Ms. Payne also reiterated allegations by the European Commission (EC) last week that Russia and China are running “intentional influence activities and false reporting” on Covid-19 for political purpose.
Australian Foreign Minister also mentioned on Twitter on 11/6 announced that the company will delete more than 23,000 accounts, for spreading false messages praising the Chinese government. In addition, more than 8,000 other accounts related to Russia and Turkey are also on the “blacklist” of Twitter.
“What we are concerned about is that some countries are trying to use pandemics to undermine democracy, in order to promote their authoritarian models,” Payne said.
The Ministry of Education last week warned students to “conduct a careful assessment of risks, and be cautious about choosing to come to Australia, or return to Australia to study”. The reason given is that Australia has many racist incidents targeting Asians related to Covid-19.
Australia then immediately rejected China’s warning and affirmed “to be one of the safest countries in the world” for international students at this time.
Before the pandemic, Australia welcomed about 1.4 million Chinese people each year, with sales of about $ 8.3 billion. Chinese students also make up the majority of Australia’s international students.
“I can say with certainty that Australia welcomes all students and visitors from around the world, regardless of race, gender or nationality,” Payne said.
Diplomatic relations between China and Australia escalated after Canberra called for an independent international investigation of the origin of nCoV. Shortly thereafter, Beijing responded when it stopped importing beef from four large Australian slaughterhouses and imposed more than 80% of the country’s barley product.
Chinese court last week sentenced the death of Australian citizen Cam Gillespie to drug trafficking, a move that could further escalate bilateral tensions.