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Sign appears outside Chinese Embassy in Canberra

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The sign reads: “Let’s call it the CCP Virus, not the Chinese Virus”.

CCP stands for the Chinese Communist Party.

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This sign appeared outside the Chinese Embassy in Canberra on Monday. Picture: AAP/Lukas CochSource:AAP

US President Donald Trump has constantly referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus”, with many criticising the terms as racist.

The emergence of this sign comes after China’s state media claimed Australia is ramping up spying efforts against Beijing as diplomatic ties come under heavy pressure.

The Chinese Communist Party-run Global Times tabloid accused Australia of waging an intensifying espionage offensive through sending spies to China.

It also claimed Australia is instigating defections, spying on Chinese students and feeding “fake news” to the media to hype up theories about Chinese spying.

[IMAGE]

Tensions between China and Australia are under intense pressure. Picture: AAP/Lukas CochSource:AAP

The story, which is based on an anonymous source from a Chinese law-enforcement agency, said Australia tried to install wire taps in the Chinese embassy in Canberra.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison avoided addressing the issue directly when asked about it.

“I wouldn’t be relying on Chinese state media for your sources for questions,” he told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

The Global Times published photos of “spying materials” including a compass, a USB flash drive, a notebook, a mask, gloves and a map of Shanghai, said to have been seized from arrested Australian agents.

The state-owned newspaper warned Chinese agencies would take a harder line on Australian espionage operations.

-With AAP

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