The last two journalists working for Australian media in China have left the country after police demanded interviews with them, the Australian Government and Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
The ABC’s Bill Birtles and the Australian Financial Review‘s Michael Smith landed in Sydney after flying from Shanghai.
Both had sheltered in Australian diplomatic compounds in recent days.
Chinese police arrived at Birtles’ doorstep last week, demanded he submit to questioning and told him he was banned from leaving the country, the ABC reported.
Australian and Chinese officials negotiated for the travel ban to be lifted if Birtles spoke to police.
The journalists left after Australia revealed last week that Australian citizen Cheng Lei, business news anchor for CGTN, China’s English-language state media channel, had been detained.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne confirmed that her Government had provided consular support to the two journalists to assist their return to Australia.
“Our embassy in Beijing and Consulate-General in Shanghai engaged with Chinese Government authorities to ensure their wellbeing and return to Australia,” she said in a statement.
Australia’s travel warning of the risk of arbitrary detention in China “remains appropriate and unchanged,” she added.