Author handed suspended death sentence in China after spy allegation | World | News

February 5, 2024
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Austalian-Chinese writer and author Dr Yang Hengjun has been handed a suspended death sentence after being accused of spying.

Dr Yang was detained in China in 2019 over espionage charges as he was on the way to visit his sick brother.

However, the case against him was never made public until his trial was held behind-closed-doors in 2021.

Dr Yang – a scholar and novelist who commented on Chinese affairs – has long maintained his innocence.

The Australian government, which has pressed for Dr Yang’s release, says it is “appalled” by the sentence.

Officials say the sentence could be reduced to life in prison in two years, reports the BBC.

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said: “This is harrowing news for Dr Yang, his family and all who have supported him.

“Our thoughts are with them. I acknowledge the acute distress they will all be feeling, after many years of uncertainty.”

Dr Yang had previously worked for the China’s Ministry of State Security. During his time as a blogger he became known as the “democracy peddler”.

His posts however often avoided directly taking aim at the Chinese government.

The 57-year-old has reportedly been interrogated by Chinese officials more than 300 times.

His family say he underwent “six months of intense torture”.

Australian officials have raised concerns about the trial process. China’s ministry however warned them not to interfere and to respect the nation’s “judicial sovereignty”.



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