Australian officials working with China to assist detained Australian journalist Cheng Lei
"I've known Cheng Lei for many, many years. She's a very professional, experienced person. She knows the ropes, she knows how to navigate the system. I was astonished," Dr Raby told SBS News.
"As far as I know the Australian government is doing absolutely everything it could and should do. They've been dealing with it for at least two weeks, maybe longer."
Chinese authorities have so far given no explanation for Ms Cheng's detention.
Dr Raby said this silence was not unusual.
"There's a period during which they would be assembling their case, or gauging international reaction and how they wish to handle it," he said.
"This is an extremely sensitive time, which is why I commend the Australian government for how they've handled it so far."
Dr Delia Lin, a senior lecturer in Chinese Studies at Melbourne University, said the targeting of Ms Cheng sent a “chilling message” for other Australians working in China.
Ms Cheng had worked at CGTN for eight years before her arrest, following stints at CNBC Asia in Singapore and China and at CGTN’s predecessor CCTV News.
Her journalism profile on CGTN has since been removed from their website.
“She is known to be a really great bridge between China and Australia,” Dr Lin said. “And is certainly someone who values her experience in Australia and tries to help both nations, and both peoples, to understand one another.”
Dr Lin said the arrest could be a message to the Australian government, which has been facing strained relations with China over recent months. “It does make people wonder, because it’s very unusual that it could be her,” she said.