Crime & Justice

Chinese-Australian writer accused of spying sends messages from prison

Sydney, Australia, Dec 23 (efe-epa).- Chinese-Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who was arrested in China at the beginning of 2019 for alleged espionage, said in a series of messages from prison that he is “stronger than ever” and that he has “some confidence in the court” to receive a fair trial.

“I think they will give me justice – whether or not they judge me guilty will say a lot about whether the court is governed by rule of law or by pure absolute power,” said the 55-year-old writer in a series of messages published Wednesday by Australian media.

Yang, a former Chinese foreign ministry official, was formally charged with espionage in October, according to his lawyer, after having been detained for months in an unknown location.

The blogger and pro-democracy activist will be tried by the Second Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing on a date yet to be specified.

The accused, who could be sentenced to death if found guilty of spying, assured that he is “stronger than ever,” reported Australia’s public broadcaster ABC.

“I have strong faith in humanity, in righteousness, justice and God. I read, pray, think and do exercise. I am stronger than ever,” he said.

Yang, born in China and who later obtained Australian citizenship, was residing with his family in New York when in early 2019 he was arrested in the Chinese city of Guangzhou while on a stopover on his way to Australia.

It is feared he has been tortured in order to force a confession during hundreds of interrogations, however Beijing claims that it guarantees his rights and has warned Australia to respect its judicial sovereignty.

China, a country with a long history of arresting dissidents, also detained Chinese-Australian television host Cheng Lei this year.

The already tense relations between Canberra and Beijing have become increasingly tense since Australia this year launched an independent investigation into the origin of Covid-19, allegedly in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Australia has also passed several laws against foreign interference in its domestic politics, without explicitly citing China, while the Asian nation has recently responded by imposing tariffs on some Australian imports. EFE-EPA


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