Bill Birtles, the ABC's correspondent based in Beijing, and Mike Smith, the AFR's correspondent based in Shanghai, boarded a flight to Sydney last night after the pair were questioned separately by China's Ministry of State security.
Birtles had spent four days sheltering in the Australian Embassy in Beijing, while Smith took refuge in the Australian Consulate in Shanghai as diplomats negotiated with Chinese officials to allow them to safely leave the country.
The saga began early last week, when Australian diplomats in Beijing cautioned Birtles that he should leave China, with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade giving the same advice to ABC's managing director David Anderson in Sydney.
Subsequent advice prompted the ABC to organise flights back to Australia for Birtles. He was due to depart last Thursday morning.
But the threatening behaviour from Chinese officials peaked before he could leave, when seven police officers arrived at Birtles' apartment at midnight last Wednesday as he was holding farewell drinks with friends and colleagues.
They told him he was banned from leaving the country, and that he would be contacted the next day to organise a time to be questioned over a "national security case".
Birtles called the Australian Embassy and arranged to be collected from his apartment. He stayed in the Beijing diplomatic compound for the next few days, where he was contacted by Chinese officials demanding an interview.
He initially refused to speak with them, citing fears for his personal safety.
Birtles was interviewed by Chinese authorities on Sunday, accompanied by Australian Ambassador to China Graham Fletcher, after an agreement was reached between Australian and Chinese officials that his travel ban would be lifted if he spoke to them.
During the meeting, no questions were asked about his reporting or conduct in China.
Birtles was told by embassy officials after the interview that his travel ban had been rescinded. He was joined by consular staff on a flight from Beijing to Shanghai early on Monday, where he waited for his flight to Sydney.
AFR correspondent Smith was subjected to questioning on Monday evening, after sheltering in the Australian consulate in Shanghai. The AFR made similar arrangements to get him out of the country.
After touching down in Sydney, Birtles said the experience had been a "whirlwind".
"It's very disappointing to have to leave under those circumstances, and it's a relief to be back in a country with a genuine rule of law," he said.
"This was a whirlwind, and it's not a particularly good experience.
"It's just good to be home."
The drama came only days after China's Government publicly confirmed the arrest of an Australian journalist working for China's state media, Cheng Lei.