Federal Foreign Minister Marise Payne issued a statement on Monday expressing concern about Cheng Lei's official arrest in Beijing on suspicion of illegally providing state secrets.China has not provided any evidence to support these allegations, and Cheng Lei has been unable to contact a lawyer since he was detained six months ago.
In response to Foreign Minister Paine’s statement, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin introduced at a regular press conference on February 2 about the arrest of China Global Television Network (CGTN) Australian reporter Cheng Lei in China.Wang Wenbin said that upon understanding, the Chinese judicial organs, after reviewing according to law, believe that Australian citizen Cheng Lei is suspected of illegally providing state secrets abroad.According to the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, the arrest of the suspect Cheng Lei was approved on February 8.The case is currently being further processed.During this period, the Chinese judicial organs handled cases in accordance with the law and fully protected Cheng Lei's rights.
Wang Wenbin emphasized that China is a country ruled by law. Chinese judicial organs handle cases independently in accordance with the law, and the legal rights of relevant personnel are fully protected.We hope that the Australian side will truly respect China's judicial sovereignty and stop interfering in China in handling cases in accordance with the law in any way.
Foreign Minister Paine on Tuesday refuted China's accusations against the Australian government in this case.
Senator Paine told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC): "When they (Australian citizens) find themselves in this situation, Australia will always safeguard the interests of our citizens."
"Australia should definitely point out that she should be given basic standards of fairness, procedural fairness and humane treatment in compliance with international standards."
"This does not constitute interference with the Chinese legal system...Of course, we respect China's legal system just like ours, but for Australian citizens, these are important principles.
Senator Paine said that Australian officials do not understand the evidence that China claims against Cheng Lei.
She said that Australian embassy officials were able to visit her approximately every month, while consular officials were assisting her family, including her two young daughters and son.
Senator Paine said: "Of course, there is no doubt that these situations are difficult and distressing for her."
She also stated that it is not helpful to speculate on whether China is trying to suppress critics by detaining Cheng Lei and Australian writer Yang Hengjun.
Cheng Lei’s family in Melbourne issued a statement saying: “We absolutely believe that she is innocent.”
Louisa Wen, Cheng Lei's niece and family spokesperson, said: "We were all shocked when we were told that she was detained for the first time."
"We know nothing about this case."
"But we do know that she has been detained for five and a half months, and her condition is getting worse."
Cheng Lei's 11-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son are cared for by her grandmother in Melbourne.
Louisa Wynn said: "I think at the age of 9 and 11, the child is old enough to understand a little bit why the mother is not here, or why the mother cannot contact you."
"But I think the children do not fully understand the situation, so it may be difficult for the children to know what happened."
She finally said: "Out of respect for China's judicial procedures, this time we will not make further comments on her arrest and detention."
According to another report, the former Liberal Party government minister has close political and business relations with China. Warwick Smith, the head of the China Affairs Department of the Business Council of Australia, known as Australia’s "Mr. China", revealed that he was before Christmas. Specially visited the Chinese ambassador to Australia on the Cheng Lei case and expressed deep concern about this.He asked: "Why specifically target an Australian?"
David Guppy, a board member of the Australia China Business Council, first met Cheng Lei, who was the host of CNBC TV in Singapore 20 years ago. He said, “In China, no one is better than Cheng Lei. A better Australian unofficial ambassador."
Gu Pei, who wrote a weekly column for China Global Television Network, who worked for Cheng Lei before her arrest, guessed that Cheng Lei's arrest might involve retaliation, because the Australian Security Intelligence Service had just searched 4 Chinese people a few weeks before her detention. The home of a journalist based in Sydney. (Nanping)
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