Cheng Lei, Australian News Anchor, Formally Arrested by China on Spying Charges

Australian news anchor Cheng Lei has been detained in China since last August—but now Chinese authorities have formally arrested her over allegations of spying, denting any hopes of her release. According to Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Cheng, who was an employee at Chinese state broadcaster CGTN, was arrested Monday on suspicion of “illegally supplying state secrets overseas.” Payne added: “The Australian government has raised its serious concerns about Ms Cheng’s detention regularly at senior levels, including about her welfare and conditions of detention.” Before her detention, Cheng was a business anchor at CGTN, but now all references to her have been removed from the network’s website and social media. Beijing hasn’t commented on her arrest, but when asked about Cheng’s detention last year, China foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “China is a country under the rule of law, and we will act in accordance with the law.”

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