Crime & Justice

Longing for Home: Australian journalist writes after 3 years behind Chinese bars

Sydney, Australia, Aug 10 (EFE).- Chinese-Australian journalist Cheng Lei, arrested and jailed in China three years for breaching state secrets, has broken her silence in a public statement, describing harsh conditions of her imprisonment and stressing how much she misses her children and home.

In the letter, published on Thursday by the Australian public broadcaster ABC, Cheng Lei compares the beauty of Australia’s nature and the great outdoors with her confinement at an unknown place in Beijing.

“It is not the same in here, I haven’t seen a tree in three years,” Cheng Lei said in the letter dictated to an Australian consular official in the Chinese capital.

The letter was given to her partner Nick Coyle.

“I miss the sun. In my cell, the sunlight shines through the window, but I can stand in it for only 10 hours a year,” the 48-year-old journalist said in the letter, evoking memories and nostalgia about her life in Australia, where she shifted as a child.

“”Most of all, I miss my children,” said the mother of two, aged 12 and 14, with whom she has not had contact since her arrest.

The former anchor of a Chinese state-run CGTV network was arrested on Aug.13, 2020.

Since then, the Australian authorities been urging Beijing to give her a fair trial and allow her to contact her family, lawyers and consular representatives.

Although the journalist was tried last year behind closed doors for allegedly revealing Chinese state secrets, which those close to her consider a politically motivated accusation, the ruling has not been revealed.

The Australian government has also sought the release of Chinese-Australian writer Yang Hengjun arrested in China in 2019 and tried behind closed doors in May 2021 for espionage.

The tense ties between Australia and China has of late seen a moment of lukewarm rapprochement after recent bilateral meetings of government officials after several years of diplomatic tensions. EFE


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