Wednesday, April 17

China puts a famous Australian journalist on trial for espionage

Noted Australian journalist Cheng Lei, arrested nearly two years ago, has been judged on thursday in Beijing by espionage. The case brings together elements as suspicious and hackneyed as the vaporous charges, the turbulent bilateral relations and the closed doors of the court. It is unknown when the sentence will be made public.

cheng stopped presenting by surprise finance program on chinese public television in August 2020. The chain deleted his profile and his friends lost contact. The Australian embassy disclosed that she was being placed under “surveillance” at an undisclosed location and China clarified that it was suspected of “endangering national security”. Months later, his arrest was formalized for “revealing state secrets to foreign countries.” The details about the charges are a mystery 19 months later and the trial behind closed doors has not helped to reveal it.

Uniformed and plainclothes police officers have prevented journalists and diplomats from entering the courthouse where Cheng appeared on Thursday morning. The Australian Ambassador, Graham Fletcher, has regretted that it is not yet known what she is accused of. “He is deeply troubling, unsatisfying and regrettable. We cannot trust the validity of a process that takes place in secret, ”she said at the gates of the court. It is customary for China to shield its courts in cases related to state security that it considers “sensitive.”

1% acquittal

It did not push the profile of Chen, troubadour of governmental excellence, to suspicion. She was born in China, at the age of ten she moved to Australia with her parents and returned two decades ago to pursue her journalistic career in the public television english channel. He was the face of the benchmark finance show. She interviewed ministers and presidents of the most glittering companies, emphasized the successful fight against poverty and presented herself on twitter as a “passionate speaker of Chinese history”. She is not known to disagree with the official message or more sensitive statements than the distant laments on Australian television in the censorship on China.

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His arrest came within the framework of the bilateral tensions. Canberra has removed electronics giant Huawei from its 5G networks, passed laws against perceived Chinese intrusions and demanded explanations about the origin of the pandemic. Beijing punished Australian exports of wine and beef. The climate explains why Australia does not have, for the first time in more than half a century, journalists in China after the hasty departure of the last two last year on consular recommendation. Also detained is Yang Hengjun for espionage since 2019, another Australian citizen of Chinese ethnicity.

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