China Confirms An Australian Journalist Arrested On Suspicion Of Espionage

2021-02-08   |   by CusiGO

China confirmed on Monday that Australian journalist Cheng Lei, who has been in solitary confinement since August 13, has been formally detained on suspicion of “divulging state secrets to foreign countries.”. Born in China, Cheng moved to Australia at the age of nine and served as the host of cgtn, the English Channel of China’s state television, until his disappearance. She is the second Chinese citizen to face espionage charges after writer Yang Hengjun (who, like Cheng, was strongly critical of Chinese authorities in her public comments) was formally charged with similar charges in August.

According to Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, 45 year old Cheng Fei was officially arrested on the 5th. Until then, the author had been detained by the authorities under a system known as “residential surveillance at designated locations”. Such an arrest allows the suspect to be held in solitary confinement for up to six months, during which time his family is not informed of his whereabouts and he is not entitled to the assistance of a lawyer. In this case, journalists can get consular assistance on six different occasions. The last time was on January 27.

The Australian government also confirmed the arrest of her citizens. Chinese Foreign Minister Marissa Payne said: “the Chinese authorities said that she was arrested on suspicion of illegally providing state secrets to foreign countries.”. Canberra, he added, “raised serious concerns to the top government about Ms Cheng’s arrest, including her welfare and conditions of detention.”

“We hope that, according to international standards, the basic standards of justice, procedural justice and humane treatment will be respected,” Penn said. The host’s family stressed in a statement that they “fully believe in her innocence.”.

The Chinese Ministry of foreign affairs believes that the investigation is conducted in accordance with Chinese law and the legal rights of the detainees are guaranteed.

Cheng was arrested in August as she was preparing to travel to Australia to reunite with her two children, who have been in Melbourne since the global coronavirus outbreak, ABC reported. ABC added that since then, he has been held in a cell in a detention center in Beijing, without natural light and fresh air.

Cheng made a series of public comments in his Facebook profile, strongly criticizing the Chinese government’s response to the epidemic. In February this year, he wrote: “I have carefully read the 6000 words of this dear leader’s last speech to the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau, especially the paragraph on propaganda. “Friendly tone” and “positive energy” make my hair stand on end. Previously, two digital channels of Phoenix Satellite TV, a Hong Kong TV station, were ordered to be closed for 15 days for a period of 40 days after they broadcast videos commemorating Dr. Li Wenliang. ” At the beginning of the pandemic, the ophthalmologist alerted his acquaintances to the dangers of the new virus and eventually died in coved.

The reporter joined cgtn in 2012 after nine years working for CNBC, the US financial information channel. On Chinese state television, he hosted global business, interviewed celebrities and participated in special projects. He is also active in the Australian community in Beijing.

On September 8, two Australian journalists, bill Bertels of ABC TV and Mike Smith of Australian financial review, left China in a hurry for fear of arrest and arrived in Sydney. Both of them have been interviewed twice by the Chinese police and they think they are interested in Cheng’s investigation.

The arrest of the journalist is one of the factors that has led to the sharp deterioration of bilateral relations between Beijing and Canberra in the past year, especially since the Australian government called for an independent investigation into the origin of coved last spring. China has carried out a series of trade retaliations against its important economic partners. Canberra raised its travel warning to the Asian giant after Birtles and Smith left Australia, pointing out that Australians living in China face the risk of arbitrary detention.