/ 17 February 2021

Oz joins coalition to end hostage diplomacy

The cases of academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert (who was imprisoned in Iran) and TV anchor Cheng Lei (who is in detention in China) highlight why Australia has joined a coalition of 57 countries condemning hostage diplomacy. Launched by Canada on Monday, the block is attempting to put diplomatic pressure on countries including China, Iran, Russia and North Korea, which are accused of the practice. What is it? Cheng’s case is a good example – some experts say her detention isn’t about her posing a risk to China’s national security but is related to that nation’s disgruntlement with Oz over a range of political issues. So it’s little surprise China’s state-run media labelled the coalition “an aggressive and ill-considered attack designed to provoke China”. Side note: Moore-Gilbert met with PM Scott Morrison last week, and she tweeted her thanks yesterday.

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