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Journalist Bill Birtles on fleeing China and returning to Beijing

Jim Wilson
Article image for Journalist Bill Birtles on fleeing China and returning to Beijing

Journalist Bill Birtles says he would return to Beijing after being rushed out of China due to concerns for his safety.

In his new book, The Truth About China, he details the moment he was visited by state security officials in the middle of the night as Australian diplomats warned him to get out of the country.

He sought refuge in the Australian embassy during a tense stand-off.

But the ABC correspondent told Jim Wilson he could return in the future, but not while the relationship between Australia and China remains “dicey”.

He said initially, he didn’t believe he and his partner, who was in the early stages of her pregnancy, were in immediate danger.

“Then we get this call saying both of you need to leave immediately, and you can imagine from our perspective, we just thought we’d finally lived in the next year of our lives.

“They were saying, ‘you’re in danger, we believe you are going to be arrested by the national security police’ I had trouble believing that.”

Press PLAY below to hear the full interview on 2GB Drive

Image: Nine News

Jim Wilson
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