According to the latest reports, the Chinese Authorities have arrested an Australian currently employed at CGTN, which is a state broadcaster in China. Chinese authorities have arrested the Australian on the suspicion of supplying state information to overseas entities through illegal means.
Following the news, Marise Payne, the Australian Foreign Minister, commented on the situation. He stated that it has been since August 13, 2020, since Cheng Lei has been detained in China. However, the Australian Foreign Ministry has confirmed that Cheng Lei had been officially arrested on 5th February, 2021.
Payne stated that the authorities from China have also commented on the recent action taken on Cheng Lei. They have confirmed that Lei has been arrested on the suspicion of supplying foreign sources illegally with state information.
Ever since Ms. Cheng’s detention in China, the Australian Government has constantly shared its concerns over Chinese authorities’ recent action. The government is constantly raising its concerns over Ms. Cheng’s detention at higher levels. The Australian Government is also very concerned about Cheng’s conditions of detention and her welfare.
The Australian Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the AUS consular officials have been paying regular visits to Cheng ever since her detention. The most recent visit paid by the AUS consular officials was on January 27, 2021.
Cheng’s occupation in China was being a business anchor on CGTN, which is the international arm of broadcaster CCTV that is owned by China. Ever since the arrest conducted by the Chinese Authorities, the channel has taken off all the information about the anchor from their social media and website.
Before being deleted from the social media and website, all information around Cheng Lei’s profile was present. The profile suggested that Cheng Lei was a journalist from Australia that had joined the broadcaster based in Beijing back in 2012.
In her 9 year tenure at the channel, Cheng Lei had contributed a lot towards the success and market growth of the channel. Throughout her period on the channel, Lei had conducted interviews of very high profile personalities from the business sector. For a long time, she was one of the top anchors at CGTN and was popularly known for hosting the daily “Global Business” show.
Apart from being on the channel, Lei was also involved with the Australian community in China in her spare time. She was also seen taking part in the Australian Chamber of Commerce events. In the events, she acted as the alumni ambassador for the embassy of Australia.
According to her latest and final post on WeChat, Lei was present at the opening of an outlet for Shake Shack in Beijing. The post was made by Cheng Lei on August 12, 2020, before she was detained in August 13, 2020.