China has advised citizens not to travel to Australia due to an increase in racial discrimination and violence in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued the alert on Friday which comes after China's state-run tabloid Global Times published an editorial that told Chinese students to "be cautious about studying in Australia".
"There has been an alarming increase recently in acts of racial discrimination and violence against Chinese and Asians in Australia, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," the ministry statement says.
"Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial discrimination and violence against Chinese and Asian people in Australia have seen a significant increase.
"The Ministry of Culture and Tourism reminds Chinese tourists to enhance their safety awareness and do not travel to Australia."
Some people have blamed China for the pandemic which is believed to have been started at a wet market in Wuhan before spreading around the world.
There have been reports of people targeted in Australia including a Chinese-Australian family who were the target of racist graffiti on multiple consecutive nights.
Vandals spray-painted "COVID-19 China die" on the garage door of the family's home in Melbourne, SBS reported.
"We didn't sleep for the whole of Monday night to be honest, and last night we were still concerned these people would come back again so we stayed alert until the early hours of the morning," the homeowner said.
"We have been living here for four years and we haven't had any issues before. We feel like things have changed a little bit due to the current environment."
ACT Discrimination Commissioner Karen Toohey told ABC News reports of racist incidents to the ACT Human Rights Commission had increased in March.
They included incidents targeting health care workers and retail staff.
Victorian Multicultural Commission chair Vivienne Nguyen told ABC there was "no doubt that there is a significant increase in incidents of racism against the Asian community".
But Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has slammed China's warning saying it has "no basis in fact".
The Sydney Morning Herald reported he said Australia is "the most successful multicultural and migrant society in the world".
"The Chinese-Australian community is a significant and valued contributor to that success story.
"Millions of tourists from all corners of the world demonstrate their confidence in Australia as a safe, welcoming and amazing destination by visiting each year, often returning multiple times.
"We reject China's assertions in this statement, which have no basis in fact. Our rejection of these claims, which have been falsely made by Chinese officials previously, is well known to them," he said.