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Australian journalists flown out of China 'amid diplomatic standoff'


ABC news studio in Sydney

image captionThe ABC says it hopes to reopen its bureau “as soon as possible”

Two Australian news outlets have removed their reporters from China over what they say is a diplomatic standoff.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Bill Birtles and the Australian Financial Review’s Mike Smith landed in Sydney on Tuesday.

Chinese authorities questioned both men before their departure. The ABC reported Birtles was “not asked about his reporting or conduct in China”.

Relations between Australia and China have deteriorated in recent years.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said consular officials had provided support to the journalists.

“Our embassy in Beijing and consulate-general in Shanghai engaged with Chinese government authorities to ensure their wellbeing and return to Australia,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.

The AFR reported that Chinese authorities had questioned the journalists about Cheng Lei, an Australian journalist for Chinese state media who has been detained since last month.

  • Who is the Australian TV anchor detained by China?

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