Anthony Albanese says ‘clumsy’ attempt to block Cheng Lei raised with Chinese embassy

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun19,2024
Key Points
  • Chinese premier Li Qiang is visiting Australia for talks with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
  • At an event on Monday, Chinese officials appeared to try to block Australian journalist Cheng Lei from cameras.
  • Cheng was arrested in 2020 while working in China and was detained for three years before being released in October.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has described attempts by Chinese officials to block the view of journalist Cheng Lei during the as “clumsy”.
Albanese said the incident had been raised with the Chinese embassy.
Li, China’s top-ranked official after President Xi Jinping, is .
At a signing ceremony between Albanese and Li at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday, video footage from several media outlets showed Chinese officials standing between Cheng and cameras, blocking her from view.

Cheng told Sky News Australia, where she works as a presenter, that “maybe [Chinese officials] did not want that for Australian audiences”.

Speaking on ABC radio in Perth on Tuesday morning, Albanese confirmed the incident had been raised with the Chinese embassy, describing it as “clumsy”.
“Our officials followed up with the Chinese embassy to express our concern,” he said.

“When you look at the footage, it was a pretty clumsy attempt, frankly, by officials to stand between where Cheng Lei was sitting and where the officials were.

“Australian officials intervened, as they should have, to ask the Chinese officials, who were there at the press conference to move, and they did so.”
In an interview with Perth radio station Nova 93.7, he said the incident underscored the differences between the two countries.
“We have different values and different political systems, and we saw some of that … with the attempt that was pretty ham-fisted to block Cheng Lei,” he said.
“The Australian officials did the right thing and intervened, but that showed that there are different systems that are there.”

Opposition foreign affairs spokesperson Simon Birmingham expressed concern with Chinese officials following the incident.

“The Chinese should have had absolutely nothing to fear from her presence as a professional, respectful journalist,” he told Sky News.
“(The officials) should think long and hard about the fact that this type of distraction caused by inappropriate conduct on their behalf is counterproductive.”
Li’s visit is the first by a Chinese premier in seven years and has restored hope China will lift all remaining trade sanctions imposed since 2020.

Albanese and Li will hold further talks in Perth on Tuesday, with strengthening business links and critical minerals on the agenda.

Who is Cheng Lei?

Cheng Lei is a Chinese-born Australian journalist and presenter.
In 2020, she was working for state-owned television in China when she was arrested for breaking an embargo by minutes.
An embargo is an agreement between a journalist and other parties, such as governments or companies, to hold off publishing information until an agreed time.
Cheng was taken into custody and held in a Chinese jail, spending months in isolation. She has said she was subjected to “sophisticated and subtle” torture while detained.

She was released in October 2023 and returned to Australia.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *