Australian news journalist Cheng Lei detained in China

An Australian journalist who works as a news anchor for a Chinese state-controlled TV broadcaster has been detained in China amid rising tensions between Canberra and Beijing.

Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne said the Australian government was notified on August 14 that Cheng Lei, an anchor for a business show on the China Global Television Network, had been detained in Beijing.

In a statement released on Monday night, Payne acknowledged the detention and said a consular visit had been conducted via video link.

Chinese authorities detained the Australian citizen amid escalating tensions between Beijing and Canberra as the Australian government called for an international inquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus.

Beijing has since imposed trade tariffs and anti-dumping probes on multiple Australian products.

China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Australian citizen and journalist Cheng Lei, who worked for Chinese state television’s international channel, CGTN, in Beijing, had been detained for two weeks, the foreign minister’s statement said.

A statement issued by Cheng’s family in Australia said it hoped for “a satisfactory and timely conclusion” and was in close consultation with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Australian officials spoke to Cheng at a detention facility via video link on Aug. 27, Payne said, adding consular officials would continue to provide support to her and her family.(JM Agreda)

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