The Chinese government has warned Australia that if the Morrison government continued to make “provocations” about Hong Kong’s sovereignty, its economy would have an “enormous impact”.
The state runs Global Times focused on Australia in an editorial on Wednesday after the federal government said it is considering creating a “safe haven” for Hong Kong residents seeking to flee former British territory while Beijing takes control.
The publication claims that such a move “would further escalate tensions between China and Australia,” which would harm the economy.
“Anyone with knowledge of trade between China and Australia could see that political provocations on the Hong Kong issue will only become a bitter pill for the country’s economy to swallow,” the editorial said.
A Chinese publication claims the Australian economy will be endangered if the federal government continues its plan to create a ‘safe haven’ for Hong Kong residents (Hong Kong protester arrested)
The Global Times said the federal government did not understand the impact that providing a ‘safe haven’ to Hong Kong residents would have on relations between China and Australia
The publication claimed that welcoming immigrants from Hong Kong to Australia would negatively impact a “shrinking” economy.
“Immigrants from Hong Kong should only bring uncertainty and pressure to the local economy, which they cannot afford,” the play read.
“With relations between China and Australia already tense, no one should underestimate the impact on the Australian economy of a further deterioration in bilateral ties.”
If relations between China and Australia deteriorate, the damage to businesses and investor confidence would be “unprecedented”, the editorial said.
“The ensuing consequences could involve tourism, investment, education and trade in Australia, causing huge losses for countless local businesses,” the editorial said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had said the government was investigating the possibility of housing Hong Kong residents.
The editorial went on to say that if China imposed ‘sanctions’ on Australia, it would be an ‘unprecedented’ and ‘bitter pill’ for the economy and impact primary industries such as tourism (Chinese tourists pictured in Sydney)
However, it was reported that Australia could end its extradition treaty with Hong Kong after new security laws were passed that would allow extradition to mainland China (the demonstrator would be taken away by the Hong Kong police)
In addition to the dispute in Hong Kong, relations between the countries intensified this week as Australia issued a warning to its citizens in China that they could be the target of “endangering national security.”
The Chinese embassy in Canberra hit back on Wednesday.
“This is completely ridiculous and disinformation,” said the embassy.
“Foreigners in China, including the Australians, shouldn’t worry at all as long as they adhere to Chinese laws.”
China said Australia faced the same setback as the UK, which opened a path to citizenship for millions of Hong Kong residents last week.
“If China does not rule out countermeasures against Britain, it is certainly an opportunity for Australia to face similar penalties,” the publication said.
The Australian government also reportedly considered deleting its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, as there was a risk that anyone returned to the territory could now be extradited to mainland China.
Beijing had passed new security laws criminalizing undermining, secession and collusion with foreign troops in Hong Kong.
Pro-democracy protesters have since been charged with holding flags, posters and pamphlets.
Trade between China and Australia was also highlighted as an area that would have a negative impact if the federal government continued its Hong Kong treaty plan (dairy farmer shown)
China bypassed the Hong Kong Legislative Council to pass the sweeping legislation without public consultation.
Shadow Advocate General Mark Dreyfus has called on the government to urgently reconsider Australia’s extradition agreement with Hong Kong.
“With residents and visitors to Hong Kong now being extradited to mainland China for a variety of reasons, extradition from Australia to Hong Kong now poses the real risk of extradition to mainland China,” he said.
“It follows that it may now be unsustainable for Australia to maintain a separate extradition treaty with Hong Kong, and if so, the government should take immediate steps to withdraw from that treaty.”
Shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus has called on the government to review Australia’s extradition agreement with Hong Kong, saying it would put the country in an ‘unsustainable’ position (the demonstrator is being pushed to the ground by police in Hong Kong)