China-Australia tensions worsen with the arrest of Australian journalist

Australian journalist

Australian journalist

Last updated on February 16th, 2021 at 07:12 am

Tensions amid China and Australia worsen after Australian Television journalist Cheng Lei has been arrested in China following a half year in detainment on suspicion of spying providing state secrets abroad, Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne stated on Monday.

Tensions amid both nations ignited when Canberra called for a fair and international investigation into the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic, and Beijing countered with sanctions.

As per Reuter’s reports, Cheng who is a prominent anchor on Chinese state media’s channel CGTN was arrested on Feb 5. She was at first, detained in mid-August in 2020; Cheng had been attending embassy events and business functions for Australians in Beijing. 

Payne further stated that the Australian government “has raised its genuine worries about Cheng’s detainment at high levels, including about the state of confinement.” 

China’s Foreign Ministry, therefore, revealed that Australia’s security agency had been examining the Chinese journalists that were working in Australia for weeks before arresting Cheng. 

Australian PM Scott Morrison stated on Monday that before Cheng’s arrest was officially announced, that there were no agreements on high levels amid both the nations to overcome the tensions. 

Australia’s former envoy to China, Geoff Raby, stated that Cheng’s case “would past issues or tensions related to bilateral relationships.

Raby told Reuters, that the support for Lei is, in any case, made substantially more challenging without any ministerial-level contacts.

Payne added that the government authorities had visited Cheng, multiple times during her confinement. Right now, Cheng’s two kids are living with their family in Australia. 

Days following Cheng’s arrest were officially revealed, two Australian foreign reporters were flown out of China with the help of Australian consular officials after they were probed by China’s state security agency, Reuters reported.

Cheng’s family told BBC that they had no clue why she had been detained and they didn’t know if she was just arrested for something that she herself didn’t understand. They added that while she was kept in the cell for interrogation, her health deteriorated.

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