Australian journalist and broadcaster Cheng Lei has been detained in China, the Government has confirmed.
Ms Cheng is a prominent anchor on state-owned English news channel China Global Television Network (CGTN).
In a statement on Monday night, Foreign Minister Marise Payne confirmed the Australian citizen, who reportedly has two children in Melbourne, has been detained for weeks.
“Formal notification was received on 14 August 2020 from Chinese authorities of her detention,” she said.
“Australian officials had an initial consular visit with Ms Cheng at a detention facility via video link on 27 August and will continue to provide assistance and support to her and her family.
“Further comment will not be provided owing to the Government’s privacy obligations.”
On Twitter, Ms Cheng – anchor of the CGTN business show – describes herself as a “passionate orator of the China story”.
She last tweeted on August 12. Her profile page on the CGTN website has disappeared and leads to an error message.
In a statement provided to the ABC, Ms Cheng’s family said: “As a family we are aware of the current situation with regard to Cheng Lei‘s status as advised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“We are in close consultation with DFAT and doing everything we can as a family to support Cheng Lei.
“In China, due process will be observed and we look forward to a satisfactory and timely conclusion to the matter.
“We ask that you respect that process and understand there will be no further comment at this time.”
Ms Cheng is the second Australian to be detained in Beijing.
Writer and pro-democracy activist Yang Hengjun was detained in January 2019 and charged with espionage in August last year.
Ms Cheng studied commerce at the University of Queensland and began her career in finance in Australia, working in accountant and business analyst roles at Cadbury Schweppes and ExxonMobil.
She then successfully applied for an internship at the state broadcaster.
Ms Cheng hosted the Australia China Business Awards 2013 and the APEC Women Leadership Forum 2014.
China’s Foreign Ministry has not commented publicly on Ms Cheng’s situation.
The Australian government updated its information for Australians travelling to China earlier this year, warning they could be at risk of arbitrary detention.