China and Australia jounalist are charged of espionage.
Australian journalist detained in China for weeks is being held on national security grounds, China has said. Cheng Lei, a presenter for China Global Television Network (CGTN), is suspected of “criminal activity endangering China’s national security”. She has been detained since 14 August.
China occupies the fourth-bottom spot (177) for the second year in a row, having dropped behind Syria in 2018.
The tale of two big trading partners detrioted to such levels are imbibed in inimical relations.
Relations between Australia and China have deteriorated in recent years.
There had been allegations of Chinese interference in Australian society in past, but ties worsened after Canberra backed an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said on Monday a record 17 foreign journalists had been expelled from the country in the first half of 2020.
Two Australian journalists have just landed in Sydney after being pulled out of China by their news organisations, on fears they were no longer safe. The two are Bill Birtles from the ABC and Michael Smith from the Australian Financial Review.
Two Australian journalists fled China on Monday night after Chinese authorities sought to interview them, according to the Australian government and their employers. They were the last two accredited Australian journalists in China, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
Last week, the Australian embassy in China recommended Beijing-based Bill Birtles of the ABC leave the country following the arrest of Cheng Lei, an Australian journalist working for Chinese state-broadcaster CGTN.
CGTN anchor Cheng Lei, held since August 14, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said authorities took “compulsory measures” against her on suspicion “of criminal activity endangering China’s national security”.
“The case is still in the process of investigation in accordance with the law,” Zhao said, adding that her “legal rights and interests are all receiving full legal protection”.
He did not give further details of the allegations against her.
Cheng is the second high-profile Australian citizen to be detained in Beijing after writer Yang Hengjun was arrested in January 2019 on suspicion of espionage.