An Australian journalist who kept a diary of the coronavirus pandemic has been arrested in China with no reasons given.
Cheng Lei, an English-language presenter with the state-owned China Global Television Network since 2012, wrote withering Facebook posts about the Communist Party.
The Beijing-based business journalist, who studied in Brisbane and Melbourne, mocked the earlier lockdown in Wuhan in March.
'The hottest word in Chinese social media is "gratitude", brought up by Wang Zhonglin the Wuhan party secretary at a press conference two days ago, in the context of asking Wuhan residents to be be "grateful (to the party, to Dear Leader)",' she wrote.
An Australian journalist who kept a diary of the coronavirus pandemic has been arrested in China
'It immediately blew up the internet. Even in China, where the pool of material for satire never runs low, this is too rich.'
The host of CGTN's Biz Talk TV show also slammed the hypocritical nature of China's Communist Party leadership.
'In China, the belief "do as I say, not as I do" runs deep in public office,' she said on March 8.
'"Serve the people" goes the slogans, reality is the opposite.
'On today, International Women's Day, the joke is why do you never need a Leaders’ day? Officials' day? Cadres’ day? That’ll be the day.'
Two days earlier, on March 6, she mocked the Communist Party's Wuhan lockdowns.
'Chednecks (China-rednecks) slapping each other on the back about how awesome China's heavy measures are vs Chinkers (Chinese thinkers) who do not see the sacrifices in Wuhan as anything worth celebrating, who see respect for science and a balance between personal liberty and restrictive measures behind the best approaches,' she said.
The outspoken TV presenter's profile has now been removed from the CGTN website, after eight years with the network.
She was previously the Asia correspondent for the American CNBC business channel.
Her detention in China is further straining relations between Australia and its biggest trading partner.
Cheng did a commerce degree at the University of Queensland and has two children in Melbourne.
Friends and family have been unable to contact her for weeks and her Facebook account appears to have been inactive since March.
The Australian government has confirmed she has been in custody since August 14.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham used restrained language to confirm her arrest.
'We had consular access via video link on 27 August and continue to provide appropriate consular assistance,' he said on Tuesday.
'We equally are working with her family, who have issued a statement acknowledging they respect the process, and are urging people to respect their privacy and limit