torsdag 10. september 2020

Cheng Lei: China says Australian news anchor was arrested on national security grounds

Australian news anchor Cheng Lei was arrested in Beijing on national security grounds last month, China’s foreign ministry spokesman has revealed, speaking just hours after two other Australian journalists arrived home after fleeing the country. Cheng, a business journalist for the state broadcaster CGTN, was taken into secretive detention in mid-August, the Australian government revealed last week. Consular staff were able to visit Cheng by videolink but were not told why she had been detained.

On Tuesday afternoon, a spokesman for the foreign ministry, Zhao Lijian, told a daily press conference Cheng was “suspected of carrying out illegal activities endangering China’s national security”.“ This case is being handled according to law and Cheng’s legitimate rights and interests are fully guaranteed,” he said.

No further details were provided. Cheng was critical of the Chinese government in English posts on her Facebook page earlier this year, but there has been no indication the posts were linked to her detention. CGTN has since scrubbed all evidence of her employment from its websites.