February 23, 2024

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Yang Hengjun: Australia is appalled by the suspended death sentence imposed on the writer

Yang Hengjun: Australia is appalled by the suspended death sentence imposed on the writer

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese court issued a suspended death sentence to a Chinese-born Australian democracy blogger on Monday. The Australian government, which has repeatedly He raised his case Over the years, he said it was terrible.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Yang Hengjun was convicted of espionage and sentenced to death with a two-year suspension. These sentences are often commuted to life imprisonment after two years.

“The Australian government is appalled,” Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a statement. “This is terrible news for Dr. Yang, his family and everyone who supported him.”

Yang, a former Chinese diplomat and state security agent turned political commentator and writer of spy novels in Australia, was arrested on January 19, 2019, when he arrived in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou from New York with his wife and teenager. daughter.

He was tried behind closed doors in May 2021. Details of his case have not been revealed. Yang, who became an Australian citizen in 2002, has denied working as a spy for Australia or the United States.

In a letter to his children in August last year, Yang said he had not been exposed to direct sunlight for more than four years. He told his family that he feared he would die in detention After he was diagnosed with a kidney cyst, prompting his supporters to demand his release to receive medical treatment.

The Australian Foreign Minister said in her statement that Australia “will communicate our response in the strongest terms” and will continue to press for his interests and well-being, including appropriate medical care.

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Wang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said the court protected Yang's procedural rights and arranged for the Australian side to attend Monday's ruling, likely referring to a diplomat or diplomats from the Australian embassy.

In October of last year, Australian journalist Qing Li has been released after more than three years He is in detention in China accused of violating the ban through a television broadcast on a state-run television network.

The plight of Yang and Cheng has often been on the agendas of high-level meetings between the two countries in recent years.

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Smith reported from Sydney. Associated Press writer Semina Mestrino in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.