The Chinese government has hit back at an Australian TV programme that claimed Beijing is infiltrating Australia, calling it "baseless", "irresponsible" and "not worth refuting".
The ABC programme, which featured a five-month-long investigation purportedly showing Beijing is actively spreading its influence in Australia, was also prominently covered in the Chinese language version of the nationalistic Global Times on Page 3 of its print edition on Monday.
In an earlier online article, the Chinese Communist Party-linked newspaper had labelled the investigative report as the "heaviest bomb" in attempts to spread "China threat theories". It also questioned why Australia would "defame" its biggest trading partner.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying dismissed the programme as "meaningless" and "malicious" when asked to comment on it for a second day yesterday at a regular press briefing.
On Monday, Ms Hua had slammed the assertions made in the programme that China was operating a network of spies in Australia and backing overseas Chinese students to harass and threaten other students in the universities. "The related claim is totally baseless and extremely irresponsible, and not worth refuting," she had said.