By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) - Australia on Tuesday warned its nationals from traveling to China due to a recent deterioration in bilateral relations.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement: “Australians may also be at risk of arbitrary detention.”
The statement comes amid verbal duel between the two countries after Canberra, angering Beijing, joined its western allies seeking probe into the origins of COVID-19.
China’s envoy to Australia hinted that Beijing may go for trade restrictions against Canberra. Beijing has also accused Australia of racial discrimination.
The relations further complicated after Australian security agencies late June raided the home and office of Shaoquett Moselmane, a New South Wales lawmaker from Australia’s Labor Party, over alleged “links with China”.
“[Chinese] authorities have detained foreigners because they're 'endangering national security',” Australia said in an updated travel advisory about China.
The direct flights between China and Australia have significantly reduced, mostly due to COVID-19.
Australia is also planning to give refuge to Hong Kongers who wish to leave the semi-autonomous region of China after controversial national security law was implemented from this month.
The new security law was unanimously passed by China’s National People’s Congress last week and made part of the statute by President Xi Jinping on July 1.
It has drawn criticism within Hong Kong and among the international community, which Beijing has dismissed as “foreign intervention”.
Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous region that has been part of China since 1997 when the UK handed over the former colony to Beijing.
Since last year, it has witnessed widespread protests sparked by a move to legalize extradition of people to mainland.