Australian media reports on Chinese interference in Australia are racist and paranoid, China’s top newspaper said on Monday, stepping up a war of words over concerns in Australia about Chinese influence in the country. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said last week he took reports very seriously that China’s Communist Party had sought to interfere in his country. Turnbull said that foreign powers were making “unprecedented and increasingly sophisticated attempts to influence the political process” in Australia and the world. He cited “disturbing reports about Chinese influence”.
The Chinese government has already protested the remarks, and on Monday the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily stepped up the attacks, Reuters reports. “The reports in Australian media have been full of imagination, making baseless attacks on the Chinese government and have maliciously slandered Chinese students and people living in Australia,” the paper said in a commentary. “This type of hysterical paranoia had racist undertones, and is a stain on Australia’s image as a multicultural society,” the People’s Daily said.