March 8, 2021

Australia asks explanations to China for the arrest of a writer

Australia has regularly asked for explanations to China about the detention of Australian-born Chinese-born writer Yang Hengjun, while a friend of the family reported threats against the novelist's wife and academic.

The 53-year-old former Chinese Foreign Ministry official was arrested last January in the Chinese city of Canton when he was on a stopover en route to Australia and has been under "house arrest" since then. revealed the place and without being charged.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said today that Canberra has addressed Yang's case "regularly" and has asked Beijing to treat her case "fairly, transparently and expeditiously", as well as explanations about her detention, according to the statement sent to Efe.

Yang's wife, Yuan Xiaoliang, who has permanent residency in Australia, was questioned by Chinese authorities on Sunday shortly before an appointment to be interviewed by the Australian public broadcaster ABC, which ultimately did not take place.

"The police made it very clear that they will punish her if she talks to the international media," Feng Chongyi, a friend of the couple, told ABC.

Yuan tried to leave China on Friday, but border authorities prevented him from boarding the plane for Australia, the channel said.

"What I fear is that they can use her to confess something against her husband or hold her hostage to influence her husband," Feng told ABC. He was arrested in China temporarily in 2017 and asks for Australian intervention.

Robert Stary, the couple's lawyer, urged the Australian government to demand the immediate release of Yang as it is not a crime to "exercise freedom of expression or defend democratic rights" as his client has done.

The Australian authorities indicated that they have asked Yang to have access to a lawyer, but they did not confirm whether they asked China to allow the wife to return to Australia.

China has a long history of arrests of dissidents, some of them while residing abroad, to accuse them later of different crimes.

. (tagsToTranslate) Australia (t) explanations (t) China (t) detention (t) writer

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