Turnbull sees ‘foreign powers’ interfering

Australia and China are in loggerheads over Beijing’s try to influence politics Down Under.

Last week a prominent Australian lawmaker was forced away amid accusations about his involvement with Beijing, and, previous this week, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull cited “disturbing reports about Chinese influence” while announcing proposals to clamp downward on foreign meddling on domestic politics.

“Foreign powers happen to be making unprecedented and more and more sophisticated attempts to affect the political method,” Turnbull told reporters in Canberra in Tuesday. The leader’s proposals incorporate banning donations from overseas.

The Chinese embassy in Australia released a retaliatory statement on Wednesday, saying that “China has no intention to interfere in Australia’s internal affairs or exert influence on its political process through political donations.”

The statement urged Australia to reevaluate its relationship with China in “a target, reasonable and rational manner,” warning against “irresponsible remarks to the detriment of political mutual trust” between the two countries.

Earlier this year, local media reported about a supposed marketing campaign by China to affect Australian domestic politics and thereby promote its own agenda.

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