China has launched an espionage trial against Australian journalist Cheng Lei. He has been accused of illegally smuggling state secrets abroad. However, his family has been claiming his innocence.
Cheng Lei, an Australian of Chinese descent, worked for China’s state-run China Global Television Network (CGTN). He was arrested in August 2020. Australia has repeatedly expressed concern against this.
Cheng Lei’s trial began on Thursday in a closed-door court in China. Graham Fletcher, Australia’s ambassador to China, spoke to reporters outside the court. He said he and other Australian officials were not allowed to enter the court. Due to their political sensitivities, Chinese courts often do not allow foreigners to enter.
Graham Fletcher said: ‘It’s deeply troubling, unsatisfying and sad. We cannot rely on the legitimacy of any confidentiality process. ” He said Australia would uphold Cheng Lei’s rights and interests.
Note that in August 2020, Cheng Lei suddenly disappeared from the television screen. He lost contact with relatives and friends. Chinese authorities say he is under house arrest. He was later shown arrested.