The Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom (AJF) calls for the immediate release of Australian Journalist, Cheng Lei.
Chinese authorities detained Cheng last August, under a form of detention that allows the police to imprison a suspect for up to six months without access to lawyers. According to an ABC report, the Chinese authorities advised the Australian government late last week that they’d charged Cheng with ‘illegally supplying state secrets overseas’.
The AJF’s spokesman, Peter Greste, says the Chinese authorities have had ample time to gather evidence, and unless they are willing to show it, they should release Cheng immediately.
“China’s record on press freedom is already deeply troubling. In the absence of evidence, Cheng’s arrest only adds to the impression that Beijing does not care about the freedom of the press. Her case stands as a clear warning to other journalists to support the government or risk being imprisoned too.”
The AJF seeks to work diplomatically with countries in the region to ensure the public’s right to know is upheld. As a journalist, and without evidence of wrongdoing, Cheng must be released and allowed to return home.
Olivia Pirie-Griffiths, Executive Director – 0400 716 181 – [email protected]