Australia asks journalist detained in China to have access to family

Sydney, Australia, Sep 7 (EFE).- Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Wednesday that Chinese-Australian journalist Cheng Lei, detained in China since August 2020, should be allowed to contact her family.

Cheng Lei, 46, tried behind closed doors in Beijing in March, has had no contact with her two children and her parents, who live in Australia, since she was arrested.

“Cheng Lei should have access to her family. Australia continues to represent her and we have a very solid opinion about her treatment,” the prime minister said during a press conference, adding that her judicial process in China was carried out “without transparency.”

The journalist, arrested when she was the presenter of a television program for Chinese state channel CGTV, is waiting in a Beijing prison for the announcement of the court decision, with no scheduled date.

Albanese’s statement is preceded by an interview with the Chinese ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, broadcast Tuesday by Australian public channel ABC, where the diplomat said he was trying to mediate to give Cheng Lei’s family access to her for “humanitarian reasons.”

In June, the journalist’s partner Nick Coyle said he was concerned about the health of Cheng Lei, born in China and of Australian nationality.

The tense relationship between Australia and China is experiencing a moment of lukewarm rapprochement after recent meetings of representatives of their governments, the first in three years of stalemate as a result of various diplomatic clashes between two countries. Both parties still maintain extensive bilateral trade.

In addition to the television presenter, mother of two children from a previous relationship, the Australian government seeks the release of Chinese-Australian writer Yang Hengjun, arrested in 2019 in China and tried in May 2021 behind closed doors for espionage. EFE


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