China has formally arrested a Chinese-born Australian journalist for CGTN, the English-language channel of China Central Tv, on suspicion of illegally supplying state secrets abroad, Australia’s overseas minister mentioned on Monday.
The arrest of Cheng Lei final Friday begins an official prison investigation and got here six months after she was detained.
“The Australian authorities has raised its critical issues about Ms. Cheng’s detention often at senior ranges, together with about her welfare and situations of detention,” International Minister Marise Payne mentioned in a press release.
“We count on fundamental requirements of justice, procedural equity and humane therapy to be met, in accordance with worldwide norms,” she added.
Worsening bilateral relations since Australia referred to as for an unbiased investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic are suspected to be the reason for Cheng’s arrest.
Cheng’s two younger youngsters have been with members of the family in Melbourne, Australia.
A month earlier than Cheng was detained on August 13, Australia warned its residents of a threat of arbitrary detention in China. China dismissed the warning as disinformation.
Earlier than the final two journalists working for Australian media in China left the nation in September, they have been questioned by Chinese authorities about Cheng.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. reporter Invoice Birtles and The Australian Monetary Overview’s Michael Smith have been advised they have been “individuals of curiosity” in an investigation into Cheng.
“I consider the episode was extra considered one of harassment of the remaining Australian journalists moderately than a real effort to attempt to get something helpful for that case,” Birtles mentioned after returning to Sydney.
Australia has criticised China for charging Chinese-Australian spy novelist Yang Hengjun with espionage.
He has been detained since January 2019.