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'GROSS VIOLATIONS': China slams Australia's human rights record

China continues to turn the screws on Australia in the wake of its landmark defence pact with the UK and US, once again questioning Canberra's human rights track record.

The significant AUKUS agreement that will see nuclear-powered submarines added to Australia's arsenal has infuriated Beijing and paired with ongoing commentary around the growing threat of China, the ugly war-of-words between the two countries has been reignited.

While largely unmentioned in recent months at foreign ministry daily press briefings, Australia has been a hot topic in the past fortnight with the department taking every opportunity to take a swipe at Canberra and the Morrison government.

Chinese state media have been routinely teeing up foreign ministry spokespeople to go on the offensive.

Hua Chunying took aim at Australia once again on Wednesday. Source: FMPRC
Hua Chunying took aim at Australia once again on Wednesday. Source: FMPRC

China critical of Australia's treatment of Indigenous people

On Wednesday evening, spokeswoman Hua Chunying was asked about China's view on Australia's treatment of Indigenous people in the wake of the 48th session of the Human Rights Council where the issue was raised alongside that of the US and Canada.

While delving into the history of the treatment of Aboriginal people in Australia, Ms Hua said little had changed and "discriminatory laws and policies against Indigenous people are still effective" and "Indigenous people are still among the most oppressed".

She said a meeting on the sidelines of the session between China, Belarus, North Korea and Venezuela, Australia was accused of hypocritical behaviour.

"Canada and Australia claim themselves as "human rights pioneers", but their own human rights situations are "fraught with problems"," she said.

"The international community should condemn their gross violations of Indigenous people's human rights.

"All participating parties expressed gratitude to China and other countries for organising the event and paid their respect to those who are brave enough to speak out on behalf of Indigenous people.

"They hoped the international community can act up, and redress social and historical injustice, and urge the US, Canada and Australia to give an explanation to indigenous people."

Scott Morrison is juggling an increasingly unstable relationship with China. Source: Getty
Scott Morrison is juggling an increasingly unstable relationship with China. Source: Getty

China facing its own human rights abuse allegations

It comes at a time China itself is facing serious allegations of mass human rights abuses in Xinjiang, where more than one million Uyghurs and Muslim minorities are being held in internment camps in a crackdown on extremism.

Australia is one of several countries to voice its concerns over the treatment of those in the labour camps.

Beijing has routinely countered Australia's commentary with accusations of human rights violations committed by Australia including at offshore refugee camps and the alleged war crimes of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Last year, a Chinese embassy official told Nine Newspapers China was intent on raising the plight of Indigenous Australians.

"Why keep silent?" the official reportedly said.

Last week fellow foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian offered a detailed description of alleged human rights offences committed by Australia and called for an explanation from the Morrison government.

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