Statement on Dr Yang Hengjun

  • Statement
21 May 2021

The Australian Government has been notified by Chinese authorities that Australian citizen, Dr Yang Hengjun (Dr Yang Jun), will face trial on 27 May 2021.

Dr Yang has been detained since January 2019 on allegations of espionage. Despite repeated requests by Australian officials, Chinese authorities have not provided any explanation or evidence for the charges facing Dr Yang.

Since his detention, Dr Yang has had no access to his family, and limited, delayed access to his legal representation.

We have conveyed to Chinese authorities, in clear terms, the concerns we have about Dr Yang’s treatment and the lack of procedural fairness in how his case has been managed.

Consistent with basic standards of justice and China’s international legal obligations, we expect Dr Yang to be granted access to his lawyer and to Australian consular officials in advance of his trial.

In line with China’s obligations under the Australia-China bilateral consular agreement, we ask also that Australian officials be permitted access to Dr Yang’s hearing on 27 May. This has been a closed and opaque process to date. As a basic standard of justice, access to the trial for observers should be a bare minimum to conform with international norms of transparency.

The Australian Government will continue to advocate strongly for Dr Yang’s rights and interests and to provide consular assistance to Dr Yang and his family.

Our thoughts are with them during this extremely difficult period.

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