International group of lawmakers call out China for ‘bullying’ and ‘intimidating’ Australia

DHARAMSALA, 11 Sept: International group of lawmakers working to reform how democracies approach and toughen their China policy has called out China for ‘bullying’ and ‘intimidating’ Australia as tensions between the two nations escalate.

Expressing their solidarity with the Australian people, The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China(IPAC) made up of legislators from the European Union, UK, US, Canada and several other nations, the legislators stated in their stamens that “We, members of the IPAC, stand in solidarity with the Australian people as they witness intense pressure from People’s Republic of China.”

IPAC has released the statement after China forced out the last two remaining accredited Australian media journalists from China and the statement declared that it “shows the extent to which they are willing to bully countries who challenge them.”

The lawmakers have also listed China’s employment of “trade bans, popular boycotts, visa restrictions and arbitrary detention of foreign nationals as an illegitimate tool in an attempt to gain diplomatic advantage.”

Calling China’s recently “implemented unwarranted trade sanctions against a number of Australian agricultural exports” as “a disturbing pattern of behaviour” of the PRC using its “economic influence to pressure other states into acquiescing to their demands,” IPAC has called on the democratic countries to stand against Beijing’s bullying tactics. 

“Only by standing together will democratic countries be able to resist PRC’s attempts to rewrite the norms and values of international diplomacy.”

China has so far banned Australian barley and beef imports while advising Chinese students and tourists not to go to Australia in apparent retaliation.

The relation between China and Australia deteriorated after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed a global call for an independent inquiry into coronavirus origin probe in March.

The IPAC has been created to promote a coordinated response between democratic states to challenges posed by the present conduct and future ambitions of the People’s Republic of China. As many as 13 Australian politicians, including prominent China critics Liberal MP Andrew Hastie and Labor Senator Kimberly Kitching, are part of the group.

It is led by a group of co-chairs, who are senior politicians drawn from a representative cross-section of the world’s major political parties.

IPAC maintains that “no country should have to bear the burden of standing up for fundamental liberties and the integrity of the international order by itself.”

Australian journalist, Bill Birtles from ABC and Michael Smith from the Australian Financial Review were reportedly rushed out of China for their own safety this week after the Chinese authorities banned the duo from leaving until they answered questions about Australian-Chinese TV anchor Cheng Lei who has been detained.

Though the journalists were relieved to be home with the assistance of Australian consular in China, the circumstances surrounding their departure has left them disappointed.

Meanwhile, Australia’s former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that he is certain 

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has no doubt the expulsion of two Australian reporters from China is a direct response to ASIO raids on Chinese journalists’  homes in June that Beijing has termed ‘blatant irrational acts’ 

“What (China) appears to be admitting is that they’ve kicked out two of our journalists because ASIO investigated two of theirs who left, right? So it’s tit for tat,’ ABC radio quoted the former PM as saying in its report.

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