Australian writer to go on trial in China on spying charges – Times of India

BEIJING: An Australian academic who spent more than two years on espionage in China was scheduled to be heard on Thursday for a case that sparked bitterness between the two countries over human rights, trade and national security.
The trial was to be held behind closed doors, but in comments shared with the media, Yang Jun maintained his innocence and vowed to “face suffering and torture with resilience”.
There was heavy security outside the Beijing court room on Thursday morning, the area around the entrance was surrounded by tape and a large number of police were deployed.
Yang, 56, of Chinese descent, also known by the surname of Yang Hengjun, is one of two high-profile Australians detained in China on charges of espionage.
Australian Foreign Minister Maris Payne on Thursday expressed deep concern about China’s handling of Yang’s case.
“We have not seen any explanation or evidence for the allegations leveled against him,” Payne told ABC Radio, expressing the hope that the trial would be “transparent” with access to consular officers.
But when Australian Ambassador Graham Fletcher arrived on Thursday, he was whisked away from the court room.
“It is very regrettable, worrying and unsatisfactory,” Fletcher later told the media outside the courtroom.
“We have long been concerned about this case, including the lack of transparency, and therefore considered it an example of arbitrary detention.”
Fletcher left the courthouse shortly afterwards. It was not immediately clear whether Yang’s lawyer was with her nor did the trial begin.
Yang was arrested in January 2019 on a rare return to China.
In a letter to supporters shared with the AFP and other media, Yang said his health had deteriorated after 26 months “without fresh air or sunshine”.
But he also said that he remained “spiritually strong” and vowed to “endure suffering and torture with endurance”.
“I have no fear now,” he said in the message, supposedly decided through a consular visitor or lawyer.
“I love you all and I know I love you.”
Yang said in a message to her supporters that “if the worst of times comes, if someone wants to take revenge on me for my writing, please explain to people inside China what I did, and the importance of my writing.” People China “.
China’s judicial system convicts most people who stand trial, and may be sentenced to life imprisonment on espionage charges.
Beijing has insisted that Yang’s rights are being respected and accused Australia of interfering in the Chinese legal case.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries have declined in recent years, with China banning Australia’s Chinese telecommunications company Huawei to build the country’s 5G network. Australia cited national security concerns for its decision.
China has also been angered over Canberra’s criticism of democracy and human rights issues in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, along with Australia’s pressure for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronovirus epidemic.
China has in turn imposed duties on Australian exports of billions of dollars, as well as cutting diplomatic channels between the two countries.
The two countries have accused each other of harassing civilians as a way of profiting in their disputes.
Another Australian, TV anchor Cheng Lei, has been arrested since August last year on charges of “supplying state secrets abroad”.
And two Australian journalists were soon expelled from China for fear of being detained on espionage charges.
Beijing has accused Canberra of raiding the homes of Chinese state media journalists as Australia investigates an alleged campaign of covert influence.

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