A prominent Australian journalist has been detained in China as tensions between the two countries rise.
The Australian government received a “formal notification” of Cheng Lei’s detention on August 14, according to a statement released by Marise Payne, Australia’s minister for foreign affairs.
Consular officials spoke with her by video chat on August 27.
The journalist is a business anchor on CGTN, the international arm of China’s state-owned broadcaster, according to Australia’s Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade.
In a statement, the family of the detained journalist said they are in “close consultation” with the Australian government.”[We are] doing everything we can as a family to support Cheng Lei,” the statement said.
“In China, due process will be observed and we look forward to a satisfactory and timely conclusion to the matter.”
CGTN and China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.The relationship between Australia and China has frayed in recent months.
After Australia called for a investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, Beijing targeted it over trade, suspending some imports of beef and slapping heavy tariffs on barley.
It also said Monday it will investigate whether Australian wine exports had been unfairly subsidized.Last week, Australia effectively blocked the sale of a dairy business to a Chinese company, claiming the acquisition “would be contrary to the national interest.”