Government’s chilling China warning
Australians have been warned not to travel to China as they risk "arbitrary detention" by the Communist regime.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has issued a new warning of the risk of hostage diplomacy noting that foreigners have been detained without reason over claims they are "endangering national security."
The official travel advice for China has not changed, but the warning over the risk that the regime could effectively arrest foreigners and take them hostage is a dramatic escalation of the content of that advice.
"China will not allow most foreigners to enter China,'' the update warns.
"Direct flights between China and Australia have significantly reduced. If despite our advice you travel to China, you'll be subject to 14 days mandatory quarantine. Quarantine requirements may change at short notice.
"If you're already in China, and wish to return to Australia, we recommend you do so as soon as possible by commercial means.
"Authorities have detained foreigners because they're 'endangering national security'. Australians may also be at risk of arbitrary detention.
"We haven't changed our level of advice. Do not travel to China."
The new warning follows rising tensions between China and Australia over trade and a war of words over foreign influence.
Human rights groups have previously raised concerns Sydney writer and democracy activist Yang Hengjun who is being held in China is being tortured.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne has called on China to provide more access to the jailed writer.
"Dr Yang has had no access to legal representation and has been held in harsh conditions that have been detrimental to his physical and mental health [and] we have asked repeatedly that basic international standards of justice, procedural fairness and humane treatment apply.
The new DFAT advice also follows concerns that Australian businessmen and women could run into difficulty in Hong Kong following the issuing of new national security orders.
Last year, Japanese media reported that a modern Chinese history professor from Hokkaido University was detained in China on charges of violating domestic law.
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said he was arrested over a violation of domestic law, but Japanese media reports claimed the professor had been detained on suspicion of spying on the basis of the Counter-Espionage Law.
Taiwan has previously claimed that around 150 Taiwanese have disappeared in China in recent years including university professors.
Originally published as Government's chilling China warning