China arrests Australian TV broadcaster on charges of national security

China arrests Australian TV broadcaster on charges of national security

China has officially arrested an Australian citizen who was a former news anchor for Chinese state television, escalating the case that contributed to tensions between Beijing and Canberra.

Australian Foreign Minister Maryse Payne’s office said in a statement on Monday that Cheng Lee, an Australian of Chinese descent who recently worked for state-run CGTN, was officially arrested in China on February 5 after six months in detention. Chinese authorities advised that Cheng was “arrested on suspicion of illegally supplying state secrets abroad.” The statement said.

China had said in September that QingIt is suspected of its implementation Criminal activities endangering Chinese national security “is among the most serious allegations ever against a foreign journalist residing in the country.

She was detained in mid-August under a ruling that allows her to be held for up to six months without charge or access to a lawyer.

Australian embassy officials have visited Cheng six times since her detention – most recently on January 27 – according to a bilateral consular agreement with China, The statement said.

“Australia has expressed grave concern about Ms. Cheng being regularly detained at higher levels, including about her welfare and conditions of detention,” The statement said. “We expect that basic standards of fairness and fairness in humane procedures and treatment, in accordance with international standards, will be met.”

Tensions mount

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