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Chinese-Australian writer held as spy in China

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Chinese-Australian writer held as spy in China

Chinese-Australian writer held as spy in China

Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who has been detained in China since January, has been formally arrested on suspicion of espionage, according to Australian officials.

Jayson Albano reports.

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Chinese-Australian writer held as spy in China

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Australian writer Yang Hengjun has been formally arrested in China on suspicion of spying.

That's according to Australia on Tuesday (August 27).

Yang is an Australian citizen, and after a stopoff at a southern Chinese airport, he's been held without charges since January under what Australia calls 'harsh conditions.'

Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne spoke out on the case.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MARISE PAYNE, SAYING: "We have heard those reports and we are deeply concerned and disappointed to learn that is the case.

He was formally arrested in China in the last few days." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ABC JOURNALIST NATALIE WHITING, SAYING: "And is there any conversations between you and China happening at the moment about him or his wife?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MARISE PAYNE, SAYING: "Well there would always be engagements between us on matters such as this and they will continue both between post and in Australia." Payne says Yang has not been allowed access to lawyers.

Yang was born in China, and was once a Chinese diplomat.

He became a prominent online journalist and blogger.

Espionage is punishable by death in China.

There was no immediate comment from China's Foreign Ministry.




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