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Australian citizen charged with espionage in China

China’s grim authoritarian creep continues. As reported by the New York Times and below from the BBC:

Chinese-Australian writer Yáng Héngjūn 杨恒均 has been formally arrested on espionage charges in China after months of detention, Australia has confirmed.

The Australian citizen has been held in Beijing since January under “harsh conditions”, said the foreign ministry. Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australia was “very concerned and disappointed” to learn of the arrest.

“We have serious concerns for Dr Yang’s welfare, and about the conditions under which he is being been held,” she said.

My old website Danwei.org interviewed Yang at the 2008 Chinese Bloggers Conference:

It’s an indication of how much things have changed since 2008 that almost everyone else we interviewed at that event has been arrested, silenced, or exiled. Yang might be the one that suffers the most: Espionage convictions can lead to the death sentence.

Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.

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