torsdag 31. mars 2022

Cheng Lei: Australian journalist on trial in China for spy charge

A Beijing court is holding a closed-door trial for Australian journalist and former TV anchor Cheng Lei, in a high-profile diplomatic case. Ms Cheng is accused of illegally supplying state secrets overseas. Her family maintains she is innocent. The Chinese-born Australian was working for Chinese state media outlet CGTN prior to her detention in August 2020. Canberra has repeatedly raised concerns over her detention and has called for "basic standards of justice" to be met.

Little is known about the exact nature of Ms Cheng's alleged offences and it's not clear when a verdict will be handed down. Speaking to reporters outside of the courtroom on Thursday, Australia's ambassador to China Graham Fletcher said he and other Australian officials had been denied entry into the hearing. Chinese courts often bar outsiders from trials deemed politically sensitive.

"This is deeply concerning, unsatisfactory and regrettable. We can have no confidence in the validity of the process which is conducted in secret," he said, adding that Australia would continue to "advocate strongly for Ms Cheng Lei's rights and interests".