Politics

Chinese-born Australian journalist accused of being a spy, tried in secret in Beijing


China has received backlash from Australian authorities after a court in Beijing carried out the trial of journalist Cheng Lei’s case behind closed doors, under heavy security on Thursday.

Lei, a Chinese-born Australian journalist, was a TV anchor for Chinese state broadcaster CGTN before she was arrested in 2021 for allegedly spying and passing on state secrets to a foreign country. Australia’s ambassador to China Graham Fletcher has claimed that he was denied entry to the courtroom during the proceedings.

“This is deeply concerning, unsatisfactory and regrettable. We can have no confidence in the validity of a process which is conducted in secret,” Fletcher told journalists. We can have no confidence in the validity of a process which is conducted in secret,” he said, adding that Australia has no information about the allegations against Lei.

“That is part of the reason why we’re so concerned because we have no basis on which to understand why she’s been detained,” he added. Trials in cases concerning China’s national security are usually tried behind closed doors in the country, and Chen Lei’s trial was no different on Thursday.