China's silence on the disappearance of Australian journalist Cheng Lei speaks volumes

New Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Palki SharmaUpdated: Sep 02, 2020, 04:24 PM IST


Story highlights

Australian media says Cheng has been detained by Chinese authorities

The Chinese foreign ministry has not yet divulged any details surrounding the disappearance of a foreign journalist, Cheng Lei.

A Chinese-born Australian journalist, Lei used to work for the Chinese state media, but has been missing for two weeks. Her videos and stories have mysteriously been deleted from the website of her employer.

Not too long ago, Cheng Lei was a high-profile anchor at CGTN, China's largest state media broadcaster. “I felt my skills could be better used in China”, she had once said.

Australian media says Cheng has been detained by Chinese authorities.

"No specifics"

“I don't have any specifics to offer you. You all know China is a country governed by law and it will handle matters according to the law. If you are really concerned and want to know more details, I recommend you ask this to the responsible department. I don't have the information you want”, said Hua Chunying, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson.

The Chinese regime is feigning ignorance about this Australian journalist's disappearance. The focus has shifted to her withering Facebook posts about the Chinese Communist Party.

On March 8, when coronavirus was still spreading rapidly in China, Cheng Lei had written, “In China, the belief 'do as I say, not as I do' runs deep in public office. ‘Serve the people' goes the slogan, reality is the opposite." Cheng's family and colleagues have been unable to contact her for weeks.

The Australian government has now stepped in and is fighting for her release.

“We're working through details in terms of the consular assistance that we can provide, and we will give all assistance that we can. Obviously this is a concerning time for her family, and that's why we will continue to provide every bit of assistance that we can, within the usual consular terms”,  said Simon Birmingham, Australian trade minister.

China is furious with Australia for demanding a probe into the origins of the coronavirus. In the last few months, Beijing has become increasingly hostile towards Canberra.

It has imposed new restrictions on Australian businesses, and has threatened consumer boycott of Australian products.