Australia says China's treatment of writers is "unacceptable"

Australian Foreign Minister ‘Very Concerned’ for Writer Detained in China

Australian Foreign Minister ‘Very Concerned’ for Writer Detained in China

Australian International Minister Marise Payne stated on Monday a Chinese language-born Australian author was being held by Beijing in "unacceptable" circumstances, together with every day interrogations whereas shackled.

Payne said that despite the Australian government making repeated requests to Chinese authorities for Yang to be treated humanely and in line with worldwide norms, there have been no substantive changes to his conditions. Said Payne. "This has not led to any significant changes in his treatment".

Yang Hengjun was detained on his arrival in New York City, New York, in January 2002, with his wife, Yuan Xiaoliang, and his 14-year-old daughter-in-law.

The Chinese Embassy in Australia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The legal defence of Yang, a blogger and activist in favour of democracy in China, denounced that the authorities were subjecting him to this mistreatment to coerce him to confess to charges of espionage, which is punishable by death.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has denied that Yang - one of a string of foreign nationals recently arrested in China - was a spy.

"We want to discuss problems with access to lawyers, focus on the Australian citizen, and ensure that his access to family and treatment is met".

"The last consular access was a matter of great concern to me and the Secretary of State, and we will continue to make these statements for an Australian citizen", he added.

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