China boots more reporters as ‘Iron Curtain’ falls over the Pacific again
Australian journalists targeted as tensions between China and the West spiral to Cold War levels
Michael Smith, a reporter for an Australian newspaper, was jolted from his sleep in his Shanghai flat last week by six Chinese state intelligence officers who questioned him under a bright spotlight. Almost 1,300km away in Beijing, as drinks flowed in the middle of a party at his flat, Bill Birtles, correspondent for Australia’s state broadcaster, received an almost identical visit.
The message from the authorities was the same: pack your bags.
Details were sketchy but the pair were told they were “people of interest” in a case and subject to a ban. The reality is more nuanced...