China warns its residents of potential risks and discrimination when travelling to Australia

Tensions between the two countries continue to increase.
Tensions between the two countries continue to increase. Photo credit: Getty.

China has issued a travel warning to its citizens planning trips to Australia - and it's not because of COVID-19.

Rising tensions between the two nations has resulted in Beijing warning residents of "discrimination" against Chinese people in Australia.

"Australia's relevant law enforcement authorities arbitrarily search Chinese citizens and seize their items, and these circumstances could cause harm to Chinese citizens in Australia, as well as the safety of their assets," the Chinese foreign ministry announced on WeChat.

The stern warning comes after Australia offered an easy pathway towards Australian residency for around 10,000 Hong Kong residents, following the increase in China's controversial influence over Hong Kong.

That move followed Australia's call for an independent investigation into the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, causing outrage in Beijing.

The WeChat message also reminded Chinese citizens to "pay close attention" to safety risks and "travel with caution to Australia in the near-term".

And there was also a warning to the Australian government, too.

"We urge Australia to change its course and stop interfering in Hong Kong's affairs and China's internal affairs in any way, or risk further damage to China-Australia relations," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told media on Tuesday.