China says some Australian politicians have reached “a state of hysteria” and “extreme nervousness” following reports Beijing had tried to plant a spy in the Federal Parliament.
- China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says some Australian MPs have been “highly tense” on China-related issues
- He says stories on Chinese espionage or infiltration in Australia are “nothing but lies”
- Mr Geng also slammed the China Cables leak on Xinjiang province as a “smear” campaign
The Nine media group detailed explosive allegations over the weekend that Chinese operatives offered $1 million to pay for the political campaign of Liberal Party member Nick Zhao to run for a Melbourne eastern suburbs seat.
“I heard that he was a 32-year-old Melbourne resident cultivated by the Chinese Government to run as a Liberal Party candidate,” Government MP Andrew Hastie told Channel Nine.
Mr Zhao was found dead in a suburban Melbourne motel room in March, months after he told ASIO of the offer.
When asked about the alleged plot at a regular press briefing on Monday night, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said some Australian politicians, institutions and media “have been highly tense on China-related issues”.
“They seem to have reached a state of hysteria and extreme nervousness,” he said.
“Stories like ‘Chinese espionage’ or ‘China’s infiltration in Australia’, with however bizarre plots and eye-catching details, are nothing but lies.”
Mr Geng urged Australian politicians, institutions and media to view China and China-Australia relations with “a healthy attitude” in the interest of bilateral relations as well as their “own physical and mental health”.
He added China was not interested in interfering in other countries’ affairs.
At the same time, Mr Geng slammed the media coverage of a leaked cache of highly classified Chinese Government documents on Xinjiang on Monday as a smear campaign, adding “Xinjiang affairs are China’s internal affairs”.
The so-called China Cables leak provides a rare insight into what has been described as a dystopian world of surveillance, detention, re-education and forced labour designed to assimilate and pacify Xinjiang’s Muslims.
The documents dating from 2017 were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and shared with ABC News and 16 other international media partners.
They tell how 23 Australian citizens were identified among 75 people from China’s Muslim minorities who were singled out in the surveillance sweep because of their passports.
“Certain media are trying to smear China’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation efforts in Xinjiang by despicably hyping up Xinjiang-related issues, but their attempts will not succeed,” Mr Geng told journalists.
“Stability, ethnic solidarity and harmony in Xinjiang is the best response to such disinformation.”
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