Australia says treatment endured by its citizen in Chinas detention camp unacceptable

Australis's Foreign Minister Marise Payne attends the third plenary session of the G20 foreign ministers' meeting in Japan on Nov 23 2019

Australia's foreign minister on Monday said the treatment of a writer detained in China was "unacceptable", after reports emerged of torture and daily interrogation.

Dr Yang has been accused of espionage - charges denied by him and the Australian government.

"His circumstances of detention embody elevated isolation from the surface world, with restrictions on his communications with household and mates, and the resumption of every day interrogation, together with whereas shackled", Payne stated in an emailed assertion.

Secretary of State Marise Payne said she was "very worried" about reports by Australian officials following their last monthly consular visit to Yang, who is still in detention.

Beijing claims that the detainee's rights have been guaranteed and asked Australia to respect its judicial sovereignty and stop interfering with how it manages its cases.

According to worldwide reports, Australia has consistently lobbied Chinese authorities for Hengjun's release, however, the Chinese foreign ministry has told Australia to not interfere in the case, and to respect the nation's judicial sovereignty. "This has not led to any substantive changes in his treatment".

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"Australia always has to stand up for our citizens and we have to be true to who we are as a people".

"The most recent consular access was a matter of great concern to me and the Foreign Minister and we will continue to make those representations on behalf of an Australian citizen", he said.

Payne said that despite the Australian government making repeated requests to Chinese authorities for Yang to be treated humanely and in line with worldwide norms, there have been no substantive changes to his conditions.

Alleged Chinese spy Wang Liqiang told overseas media last month that he had been embedded in a Hong Kong-listed company to extend Beijing's influence in the territory, as well as in Australia and Taiwan.

Yang, who was a visiting scholar at Columbia University and lived with his family in NY, could face between three years of imprisonment and the death penalty if found guilty of espionage in China.

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