Former television presenter and journalist Cheng Lei, a Chinese-born Australian, has returned to her homeland after enduring a three-year detention in a Beijing prison. Cheng’s arrest was based on allegations of breaching China’s national security laws, details of which have remained largely undisclosed due to the trial taking place behind closed doors.
Cheng’s freedom was confirmed by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. It’s an outcome that befits the persistent efforts and diplomatic urgings for her release pushed by the Australian government and its citizenry. Cheng has now united with her family in Australia, and according to Mr. Albanese, her return is being widely welcomed across the country.
Cheng, a mother of two, has shown considerable strength and resilience during her strenuous three-year ordeal. Her re-emergence into Australian life should be allowed to proceed peacefully, with all respect given to her privacy.
The Prime Minister, along with various high-ranking officials, had previously raised Cheng’s case during meetings with their Chinese counterparts. Cheng’s detention marked a potentially thorny issue for PM Albanese’s expected visit to China, for which the specific date still remains under wraps, albeit confirmed to happen later this year.
As Cheng absorbs the Australian sun she wrote longingly about during her detention, another Australian citizen, Dr. Yang Hengjun, remains imprisoned in China. Detained in 2019 while visiting his family in China on charges of espionage, Dr. Yang has vehemently denied the allegations. The Australian government, represented by Mr. Albanese, underlines its commitment to continue its advocacy for Dr. Yang’s rights and well-being at all levels of diplomatic discussions with China. They remain consistent in their endeavors since Dr. Yang was first imprisoned in January 2019.