Yang Zhengiun was arrested in January on ‘suspicion of espionage’. Yang’s lawyer Rob Stary has reported Yang is being chained and interrogated daily. According to Rob Stary, Chinese authorities are attempting to isolate Yang from the outside world by restricting his communication with family and friends.
Foreign Minister of Australia, Marise Payne said the treatment of Yang by China is ‘”unacceptable”. Payne added the Australia government has “made repeated requests to the Chinese authorities for an explanation of the charges against Dr Yang. We have also made repeated requests for him to be afforded basic standards of justice, procedural fairness and humane treatment, in line with international norms, including access to his lawyers and to his family, both of which continue to be denied to him”.
IFJ’s Australian affiliate the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has written to China’s Ambassador to Australia regarding Yang’s detention. Yang is a MEAA member.
“MEAA’s journalist members are greatly concerned for the welfare of our colleague Mr Yang and for his wife Ms Yuan. We believe this assault by Chinese authorities on an Australian citizen’s human rights, his interrogation and secret detention, and now prospect of laying very serious charges casts a long shadow of 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 by Chinese authorities.”
The IFJ said: “The IFJ is deeply concerned for Yang's safety and health. Yang has been detained for close to a year without reason. Yang is regularly interrogated and has had his basic human rights restricted. The separation of Yang from the outside world is incredibly concerning to the IFJ. No journalist should be detained for reporting. The IFJ calls for the immediate release of Yang."