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Australian Journalist Detained in China for over 3 Years

Make the most of anything.

Born in China, Cheng Lei came to Australia at age 10.

Bilingual and bi-cultural at a native level, she switched from an accounting career with multinationals like Cadbury Schweppes and Exxonmobil in Melbourne to journalism, in which she worked for 20 years.

She then took a 90% pay cut to start in television journalism in China, going from intern to presenter in three months. Within 18 months became a China Correspondent for CNBC, the world's most prominent business TV network, working in Shanghai and Singapore. Lei witnessed and reported on China’s economic leap for nine years, speaking to hundreds of Fortune 500 CEOs and major figures in politics, and economics.

Then returned to China's English channel CGTN in Beijing as a presenter for the Global Business show.

In August 2020 she was detained by Chinese authorities on suspicion of espionage but no details of the accusations against her were provided. Lei was detained until October 2023 when she returned to Australia and reunited with her family.

Talking Points

Making the Most of Nothing

How does one find strength, hope, and courage in solitary confinement, facing a merciless system alone? And how does laughter persist in a realm designed for tears?

In this poignant Keynote, Australian journalist Cheng Lei shares her transformation from presenter to prisoner during her 1000+ day detention in China. She reveals the methods she employed to navigate the shock, pain, and profound mental anguish that ensued.

Discover the strategies that enabled her to endure Groundhog Day-like repetition, forge connections, seek understanding in her captors, and uncover pockets of creativity and enjoyment amidst gratuitous cruelty.

As Lei forges ahead in life, she has
resurrected her shattered existence, infusing purpose into her fractures by embracing gratitude and vulnerability.

Attendees will be moved, energised, and empowered by her story and will be inspired to pursue a more purposeful, compassionate life.
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