The Australian prime minister has hit back at China over the issue of foreign interference, speaking Mandarin and invoking a famous Chinese slogan to declare Australia will “stand up” against meddling in its national affairs. Beijing issued a stinging rebuke of Turnbull on Friday, saying his allegations of Communist party interference had poisoned the atmosphere of bilateral relations and undermined mutual trust. But Turnbull stood his ground on Saturday, using strong language to reject the criticism and maintain there was evidence of foreign interference, The Guardian reports.
Turnbull said Labor senator Sam Dastyari – who has twice stepped down from the Senate over China-related controversies – was a “classic case.” Switching between Mandarin and English, Turnbull then said: “Modern China was founded in 1949 with these words: ‘The Chinese people have stood up’. It was an assertion of sovereignty, it was an assertion of pride.” “And we stand up and so we say, the Australian people stand up.”