China: Australian writer detained

Yang Hengjun, an Australian writer, democracy advocate and former Chinese diplomat, was detained by security agents when he arrived at Guangzhou airport on Saturday, January 19, on a flight from New York. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly criticize the detention of Yang and call for his immediate release and guarantee safe return to Australia.

Yang Hengjun, picture published on his Twitter account.

According to Yang’s lawyer, Yang is now in ‘residential surveillance’ has been charged with espionage by Beijing’s State Security Bureau. On Thursday, January 24, China’s foreign ministry said that Yang was been held on suspicion of ‘engaging in criminal activities that endangered China’s national security’.

Yang has been an Australian citizen since 2002 and is a well-known activist, advocating for democracy and rule of law. He is prolific online, publishing fiction writing and commentary on politics.

The Australian Government has called on its Chinese counterparts to share all necessary information regarding Yang’s arrest, and guarantee consular access.

The IFJ said: “The arrest of Yang Hengjun shows the ongoing attempts by the Chinese Government to control the flow of information and free speech even beyond its borders. The fact that Yang, an Australian citizen is not safe to travel to China without detention is a warning for other critical voices. We strongly criticize this approach by the Chinese Government and call for the immediate release of Yang Hengjun.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram