"The Coalition has urged the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, to reconsider
plans to travel to China after Hong Kong authorities vowed to pursue exiled
democracy advocates “for life”.
The Labor government has also warned that it would not tolerate any foreign
interference on Australian soil as it promised to protect the principle of free
speech, but China’s foreign ministry said western countries should “stop
providing a safe haven for fugitives”.
Two people based in Australia are among eight pro-democracy advocates named by
Hong Kong police as being wanted for alleged breaches of the city’s sweeping
national security law, with rewards of HK$1m (A$191,000) offered for
information leading to their arrest.
Those targeted include the Australian citizen Kevin Yam, a lawyer who lived in
Hong Kong for 20 years before returning to Australia last year. The list also
includes Australia-based Ted Hui, a pro-democracy figure who fled Hong Kong via
Europe in 2021 and is on a bridging visa.
The Hong Kong chief executive, John Lee, told reporters on Tuesday that the
only way for the activists to “end their destiny of being an abscondee who will
be pursued for life is to surrender”.
Lee also warned that Hong Kong authorities would continue to “monitor” the
actions and behaviour of the eight while overseas, Reuters
While not detailing what this monitoring would entail, Lee added: “We want them
to know that we will not sit and do nothing.”
The shadow home affairs minister, James Paterson, said these warnings should
prompt serious action by the Australian government.
“These latest deeply concerning threats made by John Lee raise questions about
the prime minister’s planned visit to Beijing later this year,” Paterson said.
“What kind of message does it send to visit while the Chinese government has
bounties out on Australian citizens and residents?”"
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics