Hong Kong activist “welcome to his campaign” in exile in Australia Political news


Former Hong Kong lawmaker and democracy activist Ted Hui is welcome to campaign on political issues in Australia and his arrival was not a matter for China, the intelligence committee chairman said on Thursday. of the Australian parliament, angering Beijing, which warned of the already strained ties between the two countries.

In the first comments from an Australian government official since Hui’s arrival from London on Monday, the chairman of the Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, James Paterson, said immigration policy was an “issue. of purely internal sovereignty ”for Australia.

“Any visitor to Australia, whether a citizen or not, enjoys all the rights and freedoms that Australians enjoy. They have free speech, free political campaign, so he is welcome here, ”Paterson, a senator, told ABC Radio.

He added that “other visitors who have a different point of view are also invited to present their arguments.”

Eric Abetz, a senator from Tasmania, who heads the committee on foreign affairs, defense and trade, also expressed his support for Hui.

“Having recently spoken to Ted Hui, it’s great to see him land in Australia and continue to fight for democracy in Hong Kong,” he wrote on social media.

Anger in Beijing

Hui, who fled Hong Kong late last year after facing criminal charges over democracy protests, said he left London for Australia to expand the reach of the lobbying international pro-democracy movement.

Australia has a large community of Hong Kong people but no leadership for the democratic movement, he said.

In a statement on Hui, the Chinese Embassy in Australia said it “urges the Australian side to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs in any way.” Otherwise, Sino-Australian relations will only suffer further damage ”.

Hui was granted a tourist visa, an exemption from Australia’s closed borders policy, and government assistance in securing seats for his family on a repatriation flight from London. He said he did not intend to seek asylum.

Deterioration of links

The government intelligence committee on Thursday held a public hearing on the national security risks of the university sector, which focused on research collaboration with China.

The two Asia-Pacific countries are already in a dispute over a number of trade defense and foreign policy issues and relations are at their lowest level in 50 years.

A turning point came in 2017 when Australia banned foreign political donations, with officials warning of “disturbing reports” of Chinese attempts to influence the political process in Canberra.

Australia and China have locked the horns of a string of defense, trade and foreign policy disputes since 2017 [File: Romeo Gacad/AFP]

The following year, Australia became the first country to ban Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from its 5G network. He also reportedly continued to block 10 Chinese investment deals in infrastructure, agriculture and livestock.

Relations worsened further last year when Australia called for an investigation into the origins of the new coronavirus, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was considering an offer of refuge to Hong Kong residents and activists, who face political persecution after China imposed a strict national security law in the semi territory. -autonomous.

Beijing has also been angered by Australian criticism over its actions in Xinjiang, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

In response, China has curbed imports of Australian beef and allowed tariffs of 80.5 percent on Australian barley. Then, in November, he imposed a levy worth 200 percent on Australian wine and is expected to block other imports, including sugar, lobster, coal and copper ore.





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