July 23, 2024
Home » Chinese Premier’s Australian tour marred by shadowing scandal

Chinese Premier’s Australian tour marred by shadowing scandal

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An incident involving Chinese diplomats and a prominent Australian journalist has cast a shadow over Chinese Premier Li Qiang’s meticulously planned tour of Australia.

The disruption occurred during a signing ceremony inside Australia’s parliament, where footage captured Chinese diplomats seemingly shadowing high-profile journalist Cheng Lei.


During the ceremony, two Chinese diplomats were seen hovering conspicuously near Cheng Lei, a journalist who recently returned to Australia after being detained in China for three years on unclear spying charges.

Australian officials repeatedly requested the diplomats to move, but their pleas were ignored. Eventually, Australian officials intervened, positioning themselves between Cheng and the diplomats.

Cheng reported that the diplomats “went to great lengths to block me from the cameras,” highlighting the tension and the lengths to which the diplomats went to obscure her presence.

Cheng Lei’s return to Australia in October last year followed a harrowing three-year imprisonment in China under opaque charges of espionage. Since her return, she has spoken candidly about her bleak prison conditions, gaining widespread attention and support in Australia. Her presence at the signing ceremony was significant, symbolizing resilience and the ongoing tension between Australia and China.

The incident has sparked diplomatic unease, marring the Chinese Premier’s tour aimed at strengthening bilateral ties. The Australian government has expressed its concern over the behavior of the Chinese diplomats, which contrasts sharply with the intended spirit of the visit.

Political analysts suggest that this incident reflects the broader geopolitical tensions between Australia and China. While the tour aimed to showcase diplomatic harmony and cooperation, the altercation underscores the underlying friction and the complexities of the relationship.

As Premier Li Qiang’s tour continues, both nations are keen to refocus on the primary objectives of the visit: enhancing trade relations, addressing climate change, and fostering mutual understanding. However, the incident with Cheng Lei serves as a stark reminder of the sensitive and often fraught nature of international diplomacy.

While Premier Li Qiang’s visit to Australia was designed to project a narrative of collaboration and goodwill, the unexpected shadowing of journalist Cheng Lei by Chinese diplomats has introduced an element of controversy. This episode not only highlights the personal plight of Cheng Lei but also brings to the fore the intricate and sometimes strained dynamics of Sino-Australian relations.

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