Release Cheng Lei and bring her home to her family

Sign the open letter in support of the Australian journalist detained in China

We, the undersigned, are writing to voice our support for Ms Cheng Lei. We have known her variously as a friend, colleague, mentor, journalist or fellow Australian.  For those who know here personally, in every sense we know her to be a caring, professional, competent, and respected journalist.

We are writing to voice our concern at her arrest for “suspicion of illegally supplying state secrets overseas”, and her ongoing detention which began August 13, 2020. We are confident she has done nothing wrong and hold grave concerns for her health, safety and care during her ongoing detention.

We are concerned about the chilling affect her arrest has on the practice of journalism, which has never been more critical. Cheng Lei has, in her career, earned respect of her colleagues for her straightforward business reporting. This was informed by her Bachelor of Commerce, received at the University of Queensland and then her admission as a Certified Practicing Accountant certified by CPA Australia. Her work in the field of business journalism lead to her being appointed a Global Alumni Ambassador for Australia by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

We are concerned about the wellbeing of her beloved children, aged 10 and 12. They have been separated from her for well over a year now and she’s had no contact with them since her arrest.

We stand with Cheng Lei as a journalist and Australian citizen.

We are seeking compassion and reason from the Chinese Government in dealing with her case.

We are calling for her immediate release and her return home to Australia to be reunited with her children.


Jane Worthington
Director, IFJ Asia-Pacific

Peter Greste
UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication at UQ, and Spokesman, Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom

Marcus Strom
Federal President (Media) Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance

David Crowe
SMH Political Editor and Press Gallery President

Annelise Nielsen
Washington Correspondent Sky News Australia and former colleague

Lucy Hornby
Former China Correspondent and friend

Jack Barton
Former Colleague and friend

Tadek Markowski
Friend and former CGTN colleague

Joey Catanzaro
Crime Reporter 7News, former colleague, friend

Rachel Rubel
News Presenter, friend and former colleague

Jeff Moody
International News Anchor, Former CGTN Anchor, colleague, and friend

Clint Deloatch
News Anchor and former colleague

Erica Pitzi
Former CGTN Journalist, friend and colleague

John Reid
Cameraman and former colleague

Lisa Oake
Former CNBC Journalist

Maud Watine
Camera operator and former colleague

Shweta Bajaj
Former Colleague, journalist & Documentary Filmmaker

Nick Coyle
Deputy Chairman CAP Resources Company LTD

Richard Bestic
Former UK Correspondent CGTN, former colleague

Christine Schiffner
Freelance Journalist, Former CGTN Director of Newsgathering

Emily Angwin
News Anchor Al Jazeera, friend and former colleague

John Jirik
Former Colleague CCTV, CGTN

Moira Coops
Makeup Artist

Stephanie Freid
Freelance Journalist and former colleague

Roya Shadravan
CGTN International Desk Editor, former colleague

Lourda Sexton
Former colleague

Andy Duffy
Former colleague

Karen Middleton
Chief Political Correspondent, The Saturday Paper

Laura Tingle
ABC Chief Political Correspondent

Kate McClymont
Investigative Journalist, Sydney Morning Herald

Rowan Callick
Former China Correspondent and industry fellow

Amy Remeikis
The Guardian Political Reporter

David Speers

Michelle Grattan

Richard McGregor
Senior Fellow Lowy Institute

Phil Coorey
Australian Financial Review

Katharine Murphy
Political Editor The Guardian

Andrew Bolt
The Bolt Report, Sky News Australia

Michael Rowland
Presenter, ABC News Breakfast

Mark Kenny
Host, Democracy Sausage, Columnist, Professor.

Niki Savva
Columnist The Age and SMH

Malcolm Farr
Freelance political reporter, fellow journalist

Chris Uhlmann
Political Editor Nine News

Peter Stefanovic
Host First Edition, Sky News Australia

Adam Creighton
Washington Correspondent, The Australian

Annika Smethurst
State Political Editor – The Age

Miranda Devine
Journalist NY Post and Daily Telegraph

James Morrow
Daily Telegraph Federal Political Editor

Tim Lester
US Correspondent Seven Network

Marisa Wikramanayake
Victorian President MEAA Media Section and freelance journalist

Peter Ryan
ABC Business

Michael Janda
ABC Business Reporter

Mike Amor
Seven Network Melbourne

Kylie Purcell
Investments Editor Finder, former colleague

Joe Kelly
The Australian

Shauna Black
Black Stump Media

Fran Molloy
Freelance journalist

Meghan Horihan

Jane Canaway
Freelance journalist

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