Detained writer urges Australia to help free him from China

Australia Chinese Writer
Australia Chinese Writer  

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - A Chinese Australian writer detained in Beijing on suspicion of espionage since January has urged Australia to maintain diplomatic pressure for his release.

Yang Hengjun said in a statement released by a Sydney-based friend on Thursday that he was "extremely grateful" to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Foreign Minister Marise Payne, other Australian lawmakers and diplomats "for their help."

"I implore the prime minister to help me go home as soon as possible," Yang, 54, said in the statement provided to The Associated Press by Feng Chongyi, an academic who was detained in China for two weeks in 2017 while researching human rights lawyers.

Yang was taken into custody upon arriving in southern China's Guangzhou from New York on Jan. 19 with his wife, Yuan Xiaoliang, and his 14-year-old stepdaughter.

The Beijing branch of China's National Security Bureau arrested Yang last week on "suspicion of espionage," China's foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Payne has made multiple representations on Yang's behalf to her Chinese counterpart, Wangi Yi, and has told China that the blogger and spy novelist should be freed if he is being held for his political opinions. China has urged Australia to respect its legal processes.

Morrison said Australia would not let Yang's case go.

"We'll stand up for our citizen and we'll expect him to be treated appropriately and his human rights to be respected," Morrison told Nine Network television on Thursday.

"There's their own justice process that they'll follow in China and that's appropriate. But these suggestions that he's acted as a spy for Australia are absolutely untrue and we'll be protecting and seeking to support our citizen," he added.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Morrison's comments "completely confuse right and wrong and contradict themselves."

"On the one hand, they said they respect China's judicial sovereignty and will not interfere in China's judicial procedures. On the other hand, they keep making irresponsible remarks on affairs falling within China's sovereignty and trying to blame and pressure us," Geng said.

"I advise the Australian side to immediately stop making unfounded and irresponsible remarks, stop hyping up the issue and pressuring China, and do something conducive to mutual trust and bilateral relations," he added.

Yang said in a statement that was compiled by Australian diplomats during their monthly meeting with him in detention on Tuesday that the Chinese chief investigator told him "Australia is small and won't care about me."

The investigator "said Australia was dependent on China for its trade and economy and Canberra wouldn't help me, let alone rescue me," Yang said in the statement that was distributed to family and friends.

The investigator "said Australia wouldn't help because I am not white. This is nonsense. He was wrong," Yang added.


Associated Press news assistant Liu Zheng in Beijing contributed to this report.


More Related News

China Deaths Jump as Measures Fail to Slow Spread of Virus
China Deaths Jump as Measures Fail to Slow Spread of Virus

(Bloomberg) -- China's death toll from the coronavirus climbed to at least 80 as the country extended the Lunar New Year holiday in an effort to contain an infection whose spread accelerated around the globe.Premier Li Keqiang visited Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the disease, on Monday as the

Shunned by the West and China, Zimbabwe Turns to U.A.E.
Shunned by the West and China, Zimbabwe Turns to U.A.E.

(Bloomberg) -- Sanctioned by the West and spurned by China, Zimbabwe has turned to the United Arab Emirates in its latest bid to find a savior that can arrest the collapse of its economy.Zimbabwe's government has approached the U.A.E. in hopes of selling a stake in its national oil company, according to three company and government officials familiar with the plan. It also wants companies in the U.A.E. to buy more of its gold, they said.President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said U.A.E. investors will build solar plants in Zimbabwe, and U.A.E. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan a year ago issued a decree to open an embassy in Zimbabwe. Dubai also contributed to relief efforts when...

Third US coronavirus case confirmed in California as China death toll rises
Third US coronavirus case confirmed in California as China death toll rises

A third U.S. case of the deadly new coronavirus that has killed more than 50 people in China has been confirmed in Southern California.

California patient is 3rd US case of new virus from China
California patient is 3rd US case of new virus from China

A patient in Southern California is the third person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with the new pneumonia-like virus from China, health officials said. The Centers for Disease Control confirmed a traveler from the Chinese city of Wuhan - the epicenter of the outbreak - tested positive for the virus, the Orange County Health Care Agency announced just before midnight Saturday. The first known case in California comes on the heels of diagnoses in Washington state, on Jan. 21, and Chicago, on Jan. 24.

China hardens virus defences as death toll hits 56
China hardens virus defences as death toll hits 56
  • World
  • 2020-01-26 06:52:38Z

China on Sunday expanded drastic travel restrictions to contain a viral contagion that has killed 56 people and infected nearly 2,000, as the United States and France prepared to evacuate their citizens from a quarantined city at the outbreak's epicentre. China has locked down the hard-hit province of Hubei in the country's centre and the capital Wuhan in an unprecedented operation affecting tens of millions of people to slow the spread of a respiratory illness that President Xi Jinping said posed a "grave" threat. The virus has spread throughout China and around the world, with cases confirmed in around a dozen other countries as distant as France, Australia and the United States.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America