China has ignored repeated requests from Australia to assist a detained dual national citizen, with the communist country not recognising his Australian citizenship.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne says consulate officials continue to remain in contact with the lawyer of the man, who has not been named by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
"We've been denied consular access despite multiple attempts because the individual concerned is deemed to be a Chinese citizen under China's citizenship laws," she told reporters on Wednesday.
"We will continue to attend future court hearings that we are allowed to attend. We're not the only country to have expressed concerns about this matter."
Senator Payne said the man was initially detained in January 2021.
He is being prosecuted under Hong Kong's broad national security laws, prompting the foreign minister to call on China and Hong Kong to comply with its human rights obligations.
"The Hong Kong national security law can be interpreted very broadly and that results in detention that lacks transparency and may be arbitrary and as well as the removal of basic rights," Senator Payne said.
Senator Payne says Australia is handling similar matters in other countries with regards to dual citizens.
"These are concerning matters and we will continue to prosecute those cases," she said.
Speaking alongside Lithuanian foreign minister Gabrielus Landsbergis, Senator Payne reaffirmed Australia's commitment to stand up against China's economic coercion.
Mr Landsbergis welcomed Australia joining consultations between the European Union and China at the World Trade Organisation, saying China was using trade as "a political weapon".
"Now Lithuania joins this exclusive club. It's apparent that we're definitely not the last ones, especially if these practices are not stopped," he said.
"We need to remind countries like China or any other country that would wish to use trade as a weapon that like-minded countries across the globe have tools and regulations that help ... (to) not to give into political and economic pressures."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia would always stand up for its interests and stand alongside partners like Lithuania who were facing coercion.
"I was able to meet with the Lithuanian foreign minister, another country in Europe who understands what it's like to be coerced by those in our region, and we will continue to stand up for Australia's values in the face of threats and coercion," he told parliament.
Australian Associated Press
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