China: Australian writer charged with espionage

Australian writer Yang Zhengjun who has been detained in China since January 19, 2019 has being formally arrested on 'suspicion of espionage'. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have condemned the arrest and called for his immediate release.

Yang Hengjun, picture published on his Twitter account.

Yang Zhengjun is the editor in chief of an independent website,”New Generation” (Xinshengdai). The website publishes reports and stories on worker’s rights. Yang is also a prominent worker’s rights activist himself. He was detained on January 19 as he arrived at Guangzhou airport on a flight from New York.

Following his detention he was placed on ‘residential surveillance’.

IFJ’s Australian affiliate the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) has written to China’s Ambassador to Australiaregarding Yang’s detention, as he is a MEAA member. In the letter sent on April 13, MEAA said: “We believe this assault on an Australian citizen’s human rights, his interrogation and secret detention, casts a shadow over the working relationship of Australian journalists in China and calls into question their being able to perform their journalistic duties in safety and without harassment or intimidation from authorities.”

The IFJ said: “The detention of Yang Zhengjun for more than seven months without charge is a violation of his basic human rights, particularly as he has been denied access to his family and legal team during this time. The charges  put to Yang are a blatant attempt by the Chinese authorities to silence critical voices. It is a tactic that they continue to use. We raise serious concerns about the free and fair trial that Yang would face in China. We call for his immediate release and for any charges to be dropped.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on

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

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