Statement on Dr Yang Hengjun

  • Statement
14 October 2020

The Government is disappointed and deeply concerned that Chinese authorities have decided to prosecute Australian citizen and academic Dr Yang Hengjun (Dr Yang Jun).

We regret that after a lengthy investigation period Chinese authorities have stated that he has been charged with espionage. We have seen no evidence to support this charge.

The Australian Government will always support Dr Yang. Our officials in Canberra and at the Australian Embassy in Beijing have made repeated requests to the Chinese authorities for an explanation of the charges against Dr Yang.

Since Dr Yang’s detention in 2019, he has had no family visits and only limited access to his legal representation. This falls short of basic standards of justice and procedural fairness, and is not compatible with international norms or best practice.

We have made clear to the Chinese authorities our expectations that Dr Yang’s case will be resolved fairly and transparently, and in keeping with China’s international legal obligations. We have repeatedly and consistently raised our concerns with Chinese authorities and representatives since Dr Yang was detained in January 2019.

The Australian Government has repeatedly expressed our concerns for his treatment and welfare, and we will continue to advocate for his interests and provide consular assistance to Dr Yang and his family.

Our thoughts are with Dr Yang and his family during this extremely difficult period.

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