Australian anchor on Chinese TV detained

Chinese authorities have detained an Australian citizen working as a TV anchor, as relations between the two countries deteriorate. Cheng Lei, an anchor for Chinese broadcaster CGTN, was detained two weeks ago.

A statement from her family said they aimed for “a satisfactory and timely conclusion” and was in close communication with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Cheng Lei’s profile

Ms Cheng has two young children in Australia. ABC News said friends and family hadn’t heard from her in recent weeks. Ms Cheng has worked for CGTN for eight years and presented a show on global business for the network. Previously, she was CNBC’s Asia’s China correspondent. She has got enough on her CV to be considered as a high-profile TV anchor.

CGTN (China Global Television Network), is an international English-language news channel owned by China Central Television (CCTV), a state-run broadcaster. The network is controlled by the ruling Communist Party in China. It is believed that the Chinese government uses CGTN to help shape their image to the world.

After her detention, Ms Cheng’s profile on CGTN’s website was removed along with many of her different articles.

Diplomatic relations

Tensions between the two nations have risen in recent months, after Australia led calls for an official investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic in China. Just recently, China also announced a second investigation into imports of Australian wine. Australia’s federal government said it anticipated to impose legislation which would allow it to cancel local government deals with foreign countries – a move seen to be aimed at China.

Ms Cheng is being held under house arrest according to ABC News. Investigators in China can question and imprison a suspect for up to six months without charge. Beijing are yet to confirm her status, but Australia was given notification of her detention on 14 August.