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Two Australian journalists arrived home Tuesday after being flown from China, where they were forced to seek diplomatic refuge following "threatening behaviour from Chinese officials," per the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Driving the news: During a five-day "diplomatic standoff," authorities told the ABC's Bill Birtles and the Australian Financial Review's Michael Smith they were "persons of interest in an investigation" into Australian Cheng Lei, who was an anchor for state broadcaster CGTN before being detained without charge last month, the AFR notes.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • Birtles was booked to leave Beijing last Thursday. But seven police officers visited his apartment the night before as he was having a farewell party and told him he wasn't allowed to leave, according to the ABC. He fled to the Australian Embassy.
  • Meanwhile, Smith sought refuge in the Australian Consulate in Shanghai following a police visit the same night.
  • The last two journalists working for Australian media in China were allowed to leave the country after being interviewed by police in the company Australian diplomats.

The big picture: Relations between China and Australia have deteriorated in recent years, with the Australian government passing legislation to prevent foreign interference amid concerns of Chinese influence on domestic politics.

What they're saying: AFR editor-in-chief Michael Stutchbury and editor Paul Bailey said in a joint statement, "This incident targeting two journalists, who were going about their normal reporting duties, is both regrettable and disturbing and is not in the interests of a cooperative relationship between Australia and China."

  • Smith told the AFR after arriving in Sydney, "The late-night visit by police at my home was intimidating and unnecessary and highlights the pressure all foreign journalists are under in China right now."
  • China has yet to comment on the matter, but Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne described the situation to 2GB as a "very disappointing series of events."

Go deeper: China bans journalists from 3 major U.S. newspapers

Go deeper

Australian lawsuit accuses Facebook of "deceptive conduct"

Photo: Indranil Aditya/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Australian government's regulatory commission announced Wednesday it's launched legal proceedings against Facebook and two of its subsidiaries for allegedly engaging in "false, misleading or deceptive conduct" in regards to a mobile app.

Why it matters: Governments around the world are clamping down on tech giants. Australia's lawsuit is similar to one filed against Facebook last week by the Federal Trade Commission and most states, which alleges the firm illegally hurt competition by buying smaller rivals and "converting personal data into a cash cow."

Ohio special election win cements Jim Clyburn’s kingmaker status

Jim Clyburn. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Rep. Jim Clyburn is cementing his Biden-era kingmaker status with Shontel Brown's win in Ohio,  showing progressives he has a finger on the pulse of Democratic Party politics in a way they must acknowledge.

Driving the news: "I was going to stay right here in South Carolina minding my business until I got called stupid,” Clyburn told Axios in an interview Wednesday.

Manhattan, Westchester prosecutors request evidence from Cuomo investigation

Gov. Cuomo during a press conference in New York City on Aug. 2. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The district attorneys for Manhattan and Westchester County on Wednesday requested evidence related to New York Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), according to a letter obtained by NBC News.

Why it matters: The district attorneys are investigating if alleged conduct highlighted in an independent report published by James' office that occurred in their jurisdictions was criminal in nature.