Treatment of Dr Yang Hengjun

  • Statement
25 March 2020

The Government strongly objects to the formal indictment of Australian citizen and academic Dr Yang Hengjun (Dr Yang Jun) in China on suspicion of espionage.

The Australian Government is very disappointed that the Chinese authorities have not yet provided formal advice on Dr Yang’s indictment.

Since his detention over a year ago, the Australian Government has repeatedly expressed its strong concern about the treatment of Dr Yang. Dr Yang’s case continues to be of key interest to the Australian community.

Crises are a time for nations to pull together. It is not in the spirit of mutual respect and trust that our continued advocacy for Dr Yang has not been acknowledged.

Dr Yang’s poor health makes him especially vulnerable to COVID-19. In our most recent representations, we appealed for humanitarian considerations to apply to Dr Yang’s situation.

We deeply regret that for over a year, our requests have not been taken up. Dr Yang has had no access to legal representation and has been held in harsh conditions that have been detrimental to his physical and mental health.

We have asked repeatedly that basic international standards of justice, procedural fairness and humane treatment apply.

The Australian Government will always support Dr Yang.

We have not been permitted contact with Dr Yang since our last consular visit on 30 December 2019. In the absence of consular visits as a result of COVID-19, we have requested contact by telephone or correspondence. Both requests have been rejected This is unacceptable treatment of an Australian citizen.

We call for Dr Yang’s immediate release and that he be allowed to leave China and travel to Australia with his wife.

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