China summoned Australia’s ambassador to lodge a complaint last week over Canberra’s allegation that Beijing had sought to interfere in Australian politics, a source familiar with the diplomatic action told Reuters on Thursday. Relations between Australia and China became strained in recent weeks after Canberra said it would ban foreign political donations as part of a crackdown aimed at preventing external influence in domestic politics, sharpening the focus on China’s soft power.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull singled out China as he said foreign powers were making “unprecedented and increasingly sophisticated attempts to influence the political process” in Australia. In response, China summoned Ambassador Jan Adams to a meeting at the Chinese Ministry for Foreign Affairs on December 8 to lodge a complaint, the source said.
China’s Foreign Ministry said last week Turnbull’s allegations were full of prejudice against China, were baseless and poisoned the atmosphere of China-Australia relations.