AJF Statement: Ongoing detainment of Australian journalist Cheng Lei must end
A year on from her detention, the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom (AJF) again calls for the immediate release of Australian journalist, Cheng Lei.
Chinese authorities arrested Cheng in August 2020, under a form of detention that allows the police to imprison a suspect for up to six months without access to lawyers. Her detention has been ongoing.
According to an ABC report, the Chinese authorities advised the Australian Government after her arrest, and said they’d charged Cheng with ‘illegally supplying state secrets overseas’.
The AJF’s spokesman, Peter Greste, says:
‘The Chinese authorities have had more than 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. The lack of transparency around 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.
“We welcome Foreign Minister Payne’s statement of support today and the Department’s continued efforts to engage with Chinese officials on this matter.”
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.
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