China scolds Australia over plan to ban foreign interference

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — China has scolded Australia over its plan to ban foreign interference in politics — an effort motivated in part because of China's global political influence.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said this week the government would update treason and espionage laws and ban foreign political donations to ensure Australian politics could withstand attempted interference.

An opposition senator was demoted last week for soliciting a donation from a Chinese businessman, an act that would be considered a crime under the proposed changes.

The Chinese Embassy said in a statement on Wednesday, "China has no intention to interfere in Australia's internal affairs or exert influence on its political process through political donations." It added that it wanted Australia to look at bilateral relations in an objective manner.