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China says Australia searched homes of four Chinese journalists

FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian attends a news conference in Beijing, China April 8, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday Australian authorities had searched and seized items from the homes of four Chinese journalists, including reporters from state news agency Xinhua and the China News Service.

Australia did not give a reason for the searches or return the seized items, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a daily news briefing in Beijing.

Reports of the searches emerged after two Australian journalists returned home with the help of consular officials after the pair were visited at their homes in Beijing and Shanghai and later questioned by China’s state security ministry.

Reporting by Cate Cadell; Writing by Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Andrew Heavens