The Chinese government has warned Australia that its economy would suffer “huge repercussions” if the Morrison government continued its “provocations” over Hong Kong’s sovereignty.
The state-run Global Times targeted Australia in an editorial on Wednesday after the federal government said it was considering creating a “safe haven” for Hong Kong residents looking to flee former British territory while Beijing asserts its control.
The publication claims such a move could “further escalate tensions between China and Australia,” affecting the economy.
“Anyone with knowledge of Sino-Australian trade could see that political provocations on the Hong Kong issue will only be a bitter pill for the country’s economy to swallow,” the editorial said.
A Chinese publication has claimed that Australia’s economy will be threatened if the federal government goes ahead with its plan to create a “safe haven” for Hong Kong residents (Hong Kong protester arrested).
The Global Times said the federal government does not understand the impact offering a “safe haven” for Hong Kong residents would have on China-Australia relations
The publication claimed that accepting Hong Kong immigrants into Australia would have a negative impact on a “shrinking” economy.
“Hong Kong immigrants could only bring uncertainty and pressure on the local economy, which it cannot afford,” the article said.
“With China-Australia relations already strained, no one should underestimate the impact of further deterioration in bilateral relations on Australia’s economy.”
If China-Australia ties deteriorate, the damage to businesses and “investor confidence” would be “unprecedented,” the editorial claims.
“The subsequent impacts may affect Australia’s tourism, investment, education and trade sectors and inflict untold losses on countless local businesses,” the editorial reads.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the government is studying the possibility of offering sanctuary to Hong Kong residents trying to flee the country.
The editorial went on to say that if China imposed “penalties” on Australia, it would be an “unprecedented” and “bitter pill” for the economy and would impact primary industries like tourism (Chinese tourists pictured in Sydney).
However, it has been reported that Australia may abandon its extradition treaty plan with Hong Kong after new security laws were passed allowing extradition to mainland China (the protester being taken away by Hong Kong police).
Alongside the Hong Kong dispute, relations between the countries were further strained this week as Australia warned its citizens in China that they could be targeted for “endangering national security”.
The Chinese embassy in Canberra hit back on Wednesday.
“This is completely ridiculous and disinformation,” the embassy said.
“Foreigners in China, including Australians, need not worry at all as long as they abide by Chinese laws.”
China said Australia is facing the same setback as the UK, which opened the path to citizenship for millions of Hong Kong residents last week.
“If China does not rule out countermeasures against Britain, it is most likely a possibility for Australia to face similar penalties,” the publication said.
The Australian government was also reportedly considering terminating its extradition deal with Hong Kong amid the risk that anyone who had been returned to the sovereign could now be further extradited to mainland China.
Beijing passed new security laws criminalizing subversion, secession and collusion with foreign forces in Hong Kong.
Pro-democracy protesters have since been charged with holding flags, placards and leaflets.
China-Australia trade was also highlighted as an area that would have negative repercussions if the federal government goes ahead with its plan for the Hong Kong deal (dairy farmers pictured).
China bypassed Hong Kong’s Legislative Council to pass sweeping legislation without public consultation.
Shadow prosecutor Mark Dreyfus has urged the government to urgently review Australia’s extradition deal with Hong Kong.
“With Hong Kong residents and visitors now subject to extradition to mainland China for a variety of reasons, extradition from Australia to Hong Kong now carries the real risk of extradition to mainland China,” he said.
“It follows that it may now be untenable for Australia to maintain a separate extradition treaty with Hong Kong and if that is the case the government should take immediate steps to withdraw from that treaty.”
Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus has called on the government to reconsider Australia’s extradition deal with Hong Kong, saying it would put the country in an “unsustainable” position (protesters being pinned to the ground by Hong Kong police).