Advertisement
Advertisement

Australia’s PM says journalist detained in China should have access to family

By:
Reuters
Published: Sep 7, 2022, 01:08 GMT+00:00

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urged the Chinese government on Wednesday to improve the treatment of an Australian journalist detained in China for two years and give her access to her children.

Australian Ambassador to China Graham Fletcher speaks to a staff member at an entrance to the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court, where Australian journalist Cheng Lei is expected to face trial on state secrets charges, in Beijing

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urged the Chinese government on Wednesday to improve the treatment of an Australian journalist detained in China for two years and give her access to her children.

Accused of providing state secrets to a foreign government, Cheng Lei, 46, is still awaiting a Beijing court’s verdict following a closed-door trial in March. Australian consular officials were blocked from attending the trial.

Before being detained in August 2020, Cheng was a business news television anchor for Chinese state broadcaster CGTN.

Cheng’s family have said her two children and elderly parents, who live in Australia, have been unable to have any contact with her since she was detained.

“Cheng Lei should have access to her family. Australia continues to make representation and we have a very strong view about her treatment,” Albanese told reporters.

“The Chinese Government needs to do better,” he added.

In a television interview with ABC’s 7:30, China’s ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, said on Tuesday he had sympathy “to her family, her kids, and her relatives”, and was trying to facilitate easier access based on “humanitarian considerations”.

She was born in China and moved with her parents to Australia as a child. Later she returned to China to build a television career first with CNBC, starting in 2003, and in 2012 she joined China’s English-language CGTN.

The foreign ministers of Australia and China met in July for the first time in three years, on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in Bali, after the election of a Labor government.

Relations between the two major trading partners have been strained after China put sanctions on Australian products from coal to wine, and Australia urged an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 and put a 5G network ban on telecoms giant Huawei.

(Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

About the Author

Reuterscontributor

Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest international multimedia news provider reaching more than one billion people every day. Reuters provides trusted business, financial, national, and international news to professionals via Thomson Reuters desktops, the world's media organizations, and directly to consumers at Reuters.com and via Reuters TV. Learn more about Thomson Reuters products:

Did you find this article useful?

Advertisement