Australia says ‘deep concerns’ for reporter held in China since 2020

Australia says ‘deep concerns’ for reporter held in China since 2020

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Canberra called for a jailed Australian journalist to be released and reunited with her family on Monday, as the broadcaster marked 1,000 days in detention in China.

Cheng Lei, a former anchor at Chinese state broadcaster CGTN, disappeared on 13 August 2020 and was later charged with “supplying state secrets overseas”.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong expressed “deep concerns” about delays in Lei’s case, which many believe to be politically motivated.

“Despite being separated from her family for so long, she has shown great resilience and courage,” Wong said.

“All Australians want to see her reunited with her children.”

Lei, a mother of two, is one of several foreign citizens detained by China as their countries locked horns with Beijing.

Wong has previously suggested that the fate of Australian nationals jailed in China was a stumbling block as the two countries try to repair ties.

Lei’s friend Nick Coyle has penned an impassioned plea for her release.

“Now 1000 days later, we still don’t know why she was taken, why she was charged with deliberately vague national security breaches or when she might be with us again,” he wrote in an article for The Australian newspaper published Monday.

“The other victims of the opaque Chinese legal system, in this case, have been her two children, then nine and eleven.”

Since her disappearance, Lei has had limited contact with the outside world and only monthly consular visits.

— AFP

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