Tensions between Australia and China have been increasing.
Now China’s embassy in Canberra has issued a warning for all Chinese-born students currently living and studying in Australia.
The warning comes after an apparent surge in ‘insulting incidents,’ which have been directed towards Chinese students living in Australia.
The embassy posted the warning on its website, urging students to remain safe and report any incidents that make them feel threatened.
In Melbourne, the Chinese consulate-general made a similar warning:
‘Recently, attacks and insults targeting Chinese students have occurred in different places in Australia…
‘Therefore, we warn all Chinese students in Australia to keep alert of possible danger and call the police and embassy if such incidents occur.’
The statements were also released in the official Chinese Communist Party newspaper, People’s Daily.
In July 2017, racists flyers at two Melbourne universities claimed Chinese students should be deported.
Then in October, Chinese youths were beaten at a bus stop in Canberra.
The Chinese government now claims to be concerned about the estimated 170,000 Chinese students studying in Australian universities and schools.
The Chinese embassy alleges that students in Australia are in danger of more racist acts.
Chinese ambassador, Cheng Jingye has visited the students affected.
Strangely, while China claims to be concerned for their students, they made no warnings in July or October, when the attacks occurred.
Instead, these warnings about Australian racism come after tensions ramped up between Australia and China’s governments. China is displeased with Australia’s interference regarding their claims to the South China Sea.
The latest Australian foreign policy white paper, published in late 2017, drew harsh criticism from the Chinese government and state-owned media. Many in China viewed it as a statement of intent to help Australia’s Pacific neighbours stand up against China’s territorial claims.
Of course, the Chinese embassy has the right — and the duty — to speak out if they genuinely believe that their citizens are in danger. Any form of racist attack is, obviously, repulsive.
But assault, robbery and harassment are all already illegal in Australia. The police can already be relied on to investigate anything reported to them. Including any racist motives or patterns behind those crimes.
The timing of these warnings comes suspiciously close on the heels of China’s disapproval of Australian government policy.
This may just be another threat for Australia to stay out of their claimed waters.