China calls on Australia to admit 'deeply concerning' problem

One of China's Foreign Ministry spokespeople has continued the department's onslaught on Australia, calling for Canberra to admit the nation has a racism problem.

Just two days after Wang Wenbin lambasted the federal government's "excuses" he claims has led to a downturn in Chinese investment, he called Australia out on an issue Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously vehemently denied.

On Wednesday, a survey from the Lowy Institute revealed one in five Chinese-Australians say they have been physically threatened or attacked in the past year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and tensions in Australia’s relationship with China.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, is pictured.
Wang Wenbin says Australia needs to acknowledge its racism problem. Source: FMPRC

One in three people felt they had been treated poorly.

In response to the survey, Mr Wang said it was time for Australia to "own up" to its racism problem.

"We hope that the Australian side will own up to the problem, make their people better citizens, solve the problems of racism and discrimination at home and safeguard the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in Australia," he said.

In June, China's tourism and education ministries warned students and other Chinese nationals to avoid travelling to Australia due to a rise in racist discrimination and attacks.

Mr Morrison dismissed the warnings as "rubbish", while then education minister Dan Tehan said Australia was "one of the safest places in the world" for international students.

China 'deeply concerned'

Yet nine months on, Mr Wang reiterated Beijing's stance, saying the Communist Party of China was still disturbed by the discrimination Chinese nationals faced in Australia.

"For quite some time, there has been continuous discrimination in Australia against people of Asian origins, including overseas Chinese, which poses serious threats to the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in Australia," he said.

People with face masks walking around the Town Hall train station entrance in Sydney's CBD during the coronavirus pandemic.
China continues to warn its nationals they are at an increased risk of racist attacks. Source: AAP

"We are deeply concerned about this."

Dr Haiqing Yu, an expert on China's digital media at RMIT University, told the ABC's The World it was evident Chinese-Australians were at risk.

"There are increasing cases of racism against Chinese and Asians in Australia, during the Covid-19 outbreak but also before that," she said.

On Monday, the Chinese embassy in Canberra released a speech made by Wang Xining, China's Deputy Head of Mission in Australia, where he said the government and the media had made it difficult for Australians to befriend China.

"It seems that being friendly to China, to be a friend of China becomes a sin and mistake in Australia," he said.

"While, to take a stern face against Chinese would be the legislate stance by a patriotic Australian. Only in that way could the Australian politician win the heart of Australian population."

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