(Reuters) – China has barred entry to two “anti-China” Australian scholars, the Global Times newspaper said on Thursday, citing unnamed sources, amid heightened tension between Beijing and Canberra.
The paper, published by the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s official People’s Daily newspaper, identified the two as Clive Hamilton and Alex Joske.
It added that the decision came after Australia revoked the visas of two Chinese scholars over “alleged infiltration” in early September.
Ties have become strained over issues from trade disputes to Australia’s call for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus that first emerged in China late last year and accusations of Chinese meddling in domestic affairs.
“This ban is quite unexpected, although I have been on Beijing’s enemy list for some years,” Hamilton said in an email to Reuters.
He added that the ban against him and Joske was “retaliation” for the Australian government’s actions against Chinese scholars and that he had already decided “two or three years ago” it would be too dangerous to travel to China.
“Only when Beijing decides to stop interfering in Australian politics and attempting to bully the Australian government will relations improve. I hope that happens soon,” he said.
In a 2018 book, Hamilton, a professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in the Australian capital, accused China’s Communist Party of a campaign to exert influence in Australia’s domestic politics.