Renowned Chinese State News Anchor Detained With No Explanation
A renowned news anchor at a Chinese state-run TV network was reportedly detained by Chinese authorities over two weeks ago, ABC reports.
Anchor-turned-detainee: Cheng Lei, an Australian citizen working for broadcaster CGTN(China Global Television Network), is being held under “residential surveillance at a designated location,” according to claims.
Having not heard from her in recent weeks, Lei’s family has been in close consultation with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
While the Chinese government has yet to confirm Lei’s status, it is known that a suspect in China can be imprisoned and questioned by investigators for up to six months without any charge.
Australia’s foreign ministry, which was notified of Lei’s detention on August 14, released a statement saying that it is committed to providing assistance and support to her family.
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said they have conducted a virtual consular visit with Lei via a video link on August 27.
Lei’s friends and family are now hoping for “a satisfactory and timely conclusion” for her current ordeal.
Lei has two young children in Australia.
Years of service erased: For nearly a decade, Lei has worked for CGTN, an international English-language news channel owned by state-run broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).
Prior to her detention, Lei hosted a show on global business for CGTN.
She has previously worked for CNBC Asia as a correspondent in China.
Upon her reported detention, Lei’s profile on CGTN’s website was removed, along with her articles for the network.
Escalating tensions: Lei’s alleged detention comes amid the souring relations between China and Australia that has been going on for months, according to BBC.
The current tensions between the two countries purportedly started following Australia’s calls for an official investigation into the origins of COVID-19 in China.
Meanwhile, China announced on Monday that it is set to conduct its second investigation into imports of Australian wine.
Australia, on the other hand, stated that it is going to pass legislation that would allow them to cancel local government deals with foreign countries.
While not particularly aimed at China, observers say the timing indicates that it might be so.
Back in July, the Australian government warned that Australian citizens are at increased risk of detention in China.
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