Australian TV presenter Cheng Lei has been arrested by the Chinese government. She is accused of revealing state secrets. Now she faces a severe punishment.
Australian TV presenter Cheng Lei has been formally arrested after six months in custody by the Chinese authorities. As the Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Monday, she was informed of this by the government in Beijing on Friday. Cheng is accused of “spreading state secrets abroad”.
Cheng is a well-known presenter on the English-language Chinese broadcaster “CGTN” and was arrested in mid-August. It originally comes from the Chinese province of Hunan. She spent part of her childhood in Australia, in 2012 she was hired by “CGTN”. If the Chinese judiciary finds her guilty of violating national security laws, she faces a severe penalty. Cheng has an eleven year old daughter and a nine year old son.
Australian-Chinese relations deteriorate
Relations between Australia and China have recently deteriorated noticeably. Australia called for an international investigation after the corona virus was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Australia also accuses China of seeking supremacy in the Asia-Pacific region.
However, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Monday that the case would be “handled in accordance with the law.” After their investigation, the judicial authorities came to the conclusion that the Australian citizen had illegally disclosed state secrets abroad.
China expels US journalists
Two Australian journalists were expelled from China as early as September. They were accused of being “involved” in Cheng’s case. They were only allowed to leave the country after consenting to interrogation by Chinese security forces.
In March 2020, Beijing ordered the expulsion of several journalists from leading American newspapers. The “New York Times”, the “Wall Street Journal” and the “Washington Post” were affected.