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Aussie journalists flee China over arrest fears


Two Australian journalists were rushed out of China overnight after Chinese police sought to question them, their employers said Tuesday.

The withdrawal of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) Bill Birtles and Australian Financial Review (AFR) correspondent Michael Smith came shortly after China detained a high-profile Australian journalist working for its state-run CGTN TV network.

The ABC said Birtles, who was based in Beijing, and Smith, who worked from Shanghai, had sheltered in Australian diplomatic offices for several days before being allowed to leave the country.

The pair flew out of Shanghai accompanied by Australian diplomats on Monday and arrived in Sydney early Tuesday.

The incident comes amid worsening diplomatic relations between the two governments and followed the detention last month of Cheng Lei, an Australian working as a business news anchor for CGTN.


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