'Propaganda war': China accuses Australia


China has accused Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton of parroting American "propaganda" in its latest spray against the Australian government.

The United States has accused China of being less than transparent about its handling of the coronavirus, and is calling for an investigation into the disease's origins. Australia is backing that idea.

In an interview with Nine last week, Mr Dutton said he didn't think such an investigation was too much to ask.

"It would certainly be demanded of us, if Australia was at the epicentre of this virus making its way into society," he said.

"I think it is incumbent upon China to answer those questions and provide the information, so that people can have clarity about exactly what happened because we don't want it to be repeated."

The Chinese embassy in Canberra was asked about Mr Dutton's comments by The Global Times, a mouthpiece for the Chinese government. It responded by accusing him of being told what to do by the US.

"It is well known that recently some people in the US, including high-level officials, have been spreading an anti-China 'information virus'. Their aim is to shift blame and deflect attention by smearing China.

"Obviously he must have also received some instructions from Washington requiring him to cooperate with the US in its propaganda war against China."