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(CANBERRA) Yang Hengjun Report: Senator Payne had argued Dr Yang had “no access to his family and limited, delayed access to his legal representation” since he was detained in 2019 by Chinese authorities #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.23:FM Marise Payne, labelling her comments that Beijing has kept Australia in the dark about espionage charges against citizen Yang Hengjun in 2019 as “deplorable”

AUSTRALIA: China slams Marise Payne’s ‘deplorable’ comments about its handling of detained Australian Yang Hengjun: The secret life of Yang HengjunThe uniform, the spy novels and a secret life. The breadcrumbs that suggest Australian citizen Yang Hengjun, detained in China for 429 days, was once a Chinese intelligence officer. Dr Yang, 56, has been languishing behind bars for more than two years, denying the charges levelled at him and claiming to be a victim of political persecution.

Posted 9h ago

A man in a black shirt sits beside water while a woman in a blue shirt puts her arms around his neck.
Australia is demanding its diplomats in China be granted access to Yang Hengjun’s trial.(AP: Chongyi Feng)

The ABC has confirmed his trial will begin on May 27 in Beijing, behind closed doors.

“Despite repeated requests by Australian officials, Chinese authorities have not provided any explanation or evidence for the charges facing Dr Yang,” she said in a statement.

Marise Payne looks into the distance with an Australian flag behind her
Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne has called for more transparency from China on Dr Yang’s case.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty)

The comments prompted a stern rebuttal from Beijing, which issued a statement through the Chinese embassy in Canberra.

“The statement by the Australian Foreign Minister … is deplorable,” a spokesperson said.

“China has repeatedly made clear its position on the case concerning [the] relevant Australian citizen.”

Australia is demanding its own diplomats in China be granted access to the closed trial, in what Senator Payne said was the “bare minimum to conform with international norms of transparency”.

“Chinese judicial authorities handle the case strictly in accordance with law and fully protect the lawful rights of the relevant person,” the embassy’s spokesperson said.

“The Australian side should respect China’s judicial sovereignty and refrain from interfering in any form in Chinese judicial authorities’ lawful handling of the case.”

The Federal Opposition said it was supportive of the government’s advocacy for Dr Yang.

“We are frustrated that the Chinese government has failed to provide information and transparency when it comes to the charges against Dr Yang,” Shadow Home Affairs Minister Kristina Keneally said.

“China and Australia have agreements that should facilitate consular access to Dr Yang and should allow consular officials to be able to be present at his trial.”

Senator Keneally would not be drawn on whether she believed Australia’s strained diplomatic relationship with China harmed Dr Yang’s case, and she said the matter was “sensitive”.

Senator Payne’s last phone call with her Chinese counterpart was in January 2020.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: May.23: 2021:

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