tirsdag 9. mai 2023

After 1,000 days in China detention, family renews call for release of Australian TV anchor Cheng Lei

Friends and family of Australian television anchor Cheng Lei on Monday renewed calls for her release from detention in China, 1,000 days after she was held by authorities on espionage charges. Cheng, a former business anchor for China’s state broadcaster CGTN and mother of two, is accused of illegally supplying state secrets overseas, a charge that carries a possible sentence of between five years to life in prison.

Australian authorities have expressed concern about her detention amid suggestions from analysts that strained ties between Canberra and Beijing may have provided impetus for the opaque case against her. Cheng had been on her way to work on the morning of August 13, 2020, when she “was taken by China’s Ministry of State Security,” her partner Nick Coyle said in a letter published in The Australian newspaper on Monday. “Now 1,000 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.

Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Penny Wong also released a statement on Monday, writing on Twitter: “Despite being separated from her family for so long, she has shown great resilience and courage. All Australians want to see her reunited with her children.”