China says Australia turning away Chinese firms will dent confidence

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China’s foreign ministry say the confidence of Chinese companies will be dented by the fact that Australia has recently turned several away in the name of national security.

Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin made the comments at a regular media briefing.

Relations between the two nations have deteriorated, with Australian journalists pulled out of China and the ABC this week revealing that Australian police accessed Chinese diplomats’ emails and messages as part of an investigation into foreign political interference.

During a daily press briefing on Friday, Mr Wang said Australia was “purposely setting up obstacles” to make it harder for Chinese companies to invest.

“Recently, Australia has repeatedly vetoed Chinese companies’ investment projects in Australia on the grounds of so-called national security and has frequently imposed unreasonable restrictions on the normal exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in various fields,” he said.

“This will inevitably seriously affect the confidence of Chinese companies to invest in Australia.”

Mr Wang told reporters the Australian Government should “create convenient conditions” for Chinese companies to continue to invest.

“We hope that the Australian Government will face the reality, seriously reflect on it, and effectively create a fair, open and non-discriminatory investment environment for foreign investors,” he said.

Chinese flags fly high outside the Australian Parliament House in Canberra
The comments come in the same week it was revealed Australian police were investigating Chinese diplomats.(AAP: Lukas Coch)

Australia’s tense relations with China worsened this year after Australia called for an international inquiry into the source of COVID-19, which emerged in China late last year.

Chinese company Zhenhua Data was also found this week to have a database with information of more than 35,000 Australians.

The leak has raised further questions about the spread and scope of China’s intelligence-gathering operations.

China’s Government has condemned allegations that Beijing tried to infiltrate Australian politics as a “malicious smear and slander”.

Reuters/ABC

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