China begins trial of Australian writer Yang Hengjun over charges of spying

Lekha G

The trial of an Australian academic Yang Hengjun held in China on spying charges for more than two years has begun in a closed-door Court in Beijing.

The Australian diplomats were turned away from entering the Courtroom and the applications of Mr. Yang’s relatives were also rejected.

In this regard, Australian ambassador Graham Fletcher expressing deep regret said, “We’ve had longstanding concerns about this case including lack of transparency and therefore have concluded it’s a case of arbitrary detention.”

Mr. Yang earlier in a letter released in eve of the trial had said that he was facing daily interrogations and sleep deprivation techniques resulting in deterioration of his health.

“If someone wants to take revenge on me for my writings, please explain to the people inside China what I did, and the significance of my writing to people in China. I have no fear now. I will never compromise,” he further said.

China’s foreign ministry had previously asked Australia to respect the nation’s “Judicial Sovereignty” and not to interfere in the case.

However, Foreign Minister Marise Payne denied China’s contention saying the concerns raised by them were legitimate and Mr. Yang was not a spy of their nation.

Mr. Yang was arrested on a rare return to China in January 2019.

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