September 7, 2020

China: RSF urges for release of Australian business news anchor

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges for the release of Australian CGTN state media business news anchor Cheng Lei, who has been detained incommunicado and without charge since 14th August.

On 31st August, the Australian Embassy in Beijing revealed that Cheng Lei, a high-profile Chinese-born Australian working as a business news anchor for state media group China Global Television (CGTN), had been arrested two weeks earlier. The authorities have since confirmed that she was placed under "residential surveillance at a designated location" (RSDL), which describes an incommunicado detention in China’s “black jails” in which detainees are deprived of their rights and at risk of being tortured.

"This unjustified arrest is part of a policy that is intended to instill terror by President Xi Jinping to force media workers to relay his propaganda", denounces Cédric Alviani, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia Bureau head, who calls on democracies to "step up their pressure on the Beijing regime so that it releases Cheng Lei and the 115 other jailed journalists and press freedom defenders".

China ranks 177th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.