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China Charges Chinese-Australian Journalist with Supplying State Secrets


FILE - Cheng Lei, a Chinese-born Australian journalist for CGTN, the English-language channel of China Central Television, attends a public event in Beijing, China, Aug. 12, 2020.
<p paraeid="{be55b7a5-d2ef-4c4a-b846-80b7d52c778d}{3}" paraid="14">Australia&rsquo;s foreign minister says an Australian television journalist who has been detained in China since last August has been formally arrested.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p paraeid="{be55b7a5-d2ef-4c4a-b846-80b7d52c778d}{15}" paraid="16">Foreign Minister Marise Payne told reporters Monday that Cheng Lei was arrested last Friday and charged on suspicion of illegally supplying state secrets overseas.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p paraeid="{be55b7a5-d2ef-4c4a-b846-80b7d52c778d}{25}" paraid="18">The Chinese-born Cheng anchored a business show on CGTN, the English-language channel of China&rsquo;s state-owned CCTV.&nbsp; Cheng emigrated to Australia as a child and worked in finance before returning to China and joining CCTV.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p paraeid="{be55b7a5-d2ef-4c4a-b846-80b7d52c778d}{35}" paraid="20">Payne said Canberra had raised &ldquo;serious concerns&rdquo; with Beijing about Cheng&rsquo;s &ldquo;welfare and conditions of detention.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p paraeid="{be55b7a5-d2ef-4c4a-b846-80b7d52c778d}{45}" paraid="22">&ldquo;We expect basic standards of justice, procedural fairness and humane treatment to be met, in accordance with international norms,&rdquo; she said.&nbsp;</p> <p paraeid="{be55b7a5-d2ef-4c4a-b846-80b7d52c778d}{57}" paraid="24">Two Australian journalists based in China, Bill Birtles and Michael Smith, left the country after they were questioned by authorities about Cheng.&nbsp;</p> <p paraeid="{be55b7a5-d2ef-4c4a-b846-80b7d52c778d}{67}" paraid="26">Cheng&rsquo;s arrest came amid&nbsp;an increasingly bitter rift between the two regional neighbors. Beijing has imposed heavy tariffs and restrictions on Australian agricultural imports in apparent retaliation for Australia&rsquo;s push for an independent probe into the origins of the novel coronavirus, which was first detected last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.&nbsp;</p> <p paraeid="{be55b7a5-d2ef-4c4a-b846-80b7d52c778d}{79}" paraid="28">Another Chinese-born Australian national, spy novelist Yang&nbsp;Hengjun, has been held in China since January 2019 when he was arrested on suspicion of espionage.&nbsp;</p>
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