China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says Australia is trying to interfere in its “judicial sovereignty” after Foreign Minister Marise Payne called for the immediate release of author Yang Hengjun.
- Australian author Yang Hengjun has been detained in China for three years
- The Australian government has called for the release of the 56-year-old
- Dr. Yang, a pro-democracy activist, faces charges of spying for China
Dr. Yang has been detained by Chinese authorities for three years since he was detained at Guangzhou airport in January 2019.
The Australian citizen is awaiting a verdict following a one-day espionage case that took place in Beijing last year.
Dr. Yang, 56, is a Democrat spokesman who has said the authorities “treat me like dirt here and they tortured me”.
Ms Payne’s call to be released came after the author’s friends feared his growing health problems would lead to his death behind bars.
During the daily press briefing on Tuesday, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, said that Dr. Yang was treated fairly.
“China’s judicial bodies are handling the case in strict accordance with the law and fully protecting Yang Hengjun’s legal rights and interests,” Zhao said.
Dr. Yang is thought to suffer from severe problems with arthritis, high blood pressure, impaired vision and dizziness.
Recent blood tests have revealed rising levels of creatinine, which has given rise to fears that Dr. Yang may be suffering from kidney failure, but a Chinese prison doctor has not been able to give any treatment or advice on treatment.
Ms Payne said the federal government was concerned about Dr. Yang.
“Neither Dr. Yang nor the Australian Government have been provided with details of the charges against him or the investigation, which reinforces our view that this constitutes an arbitrary detention of an Australian citizen,” she said.
We therefore call for Dr. Yang’s immediate release and his return to Australia.
“Australia is also extremely concerned about Dr. Yang’s health. We urge the Chinese authorities to fulfill their obligations to ensure that all necessary treatment for his physical and mental health is provided.”