Australian Ambassador Barred From China Spy Trial

Graham Fletcher speaks to journalists outdoors the Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court.


Australia’s ambassador to China was on Thursday barred from the trial of an instructional held on spying fees, in a case that has exacerbated a bitter row between the 2 nations.

The trial of Australian Yang Jun, detained for greater than two years on accusations of espionage, was set to be held behind closed doorways in Beijing with a heavy safety presence outdoors the courthouse on Thursday morning.

Chinese-born Yang, 56, who additionally goes by the pen identify of Yang Hengjun, is one among two high-profile Australians detained in China on fees of spying.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Thursday voiced deep considerations about China’s dealing with of the case, as a letter from Yang was launched sustaining his innocence and referencing torture whereas being detained.

“We have not seen any explanation or evidence for the charges that have been brought against him,” Payne advised ABC radio, including she had hoped the trial can be “transparent” with consular officers granted entry.

But Australian ambassador Graham Fletcher was turned away from the courtroom when he arrived on Thursday.

“This is deeply regrettable, concerning and unsatisfying,” Fletcher advised media outdoors the courtroom afterwards.

“We’ve long had concerns about this case, including a lack of transparency, and therefore conclude it to be an instance of arbitrary detention.”

Fletcher left the courthouse shortly afterwards. It was not instantly clear if Yang’s lawyer was with him, nor if the trial had began.

A convoy of police vehicles and vans was later seen arriving on the court docket, however it was not clear whether or not Yang was inside. Authorities gave media no details about the case.

– ‘Suffering and torture’ –

Yang was detained on a uncommon return to China in January 2019.

Beijing has outlined virtually no particulars of the case towards him since he was taken into custody.

In October the international ministry confirmed that fees of “espionage” had been filed towards Yang and the case has been accepted by the court docket, with out giving extra info.

In a letter to supporters shared with AFP and different media, Yang mentioned that his well being had deteriorated after 26 months “without fresh air or sunshine”.

But he additionally mentioned that he remained “spiritually strong” and vowed to “face suffering and torture with resilience”.

“I have no fear now,” he mentioned within the message, believed to have been dictated via a consular customer or lawyer.

“I love you all and I know that I am loved.”

Yang mentioned within the message to his supporters that “if the worst comes to the worst, if someone wants to take revenge on me for my writings, please explain to the people inside China what I did, and the significance of my writing to people in China”.

China’s judicial system convicts most individuals who stand trial, and espionage fees can carry a sentence of life in jail.

Beijing has insisted Yang’s rights are being revered and accused Australia of interfering in a Chinese authorized case.

– Anger –

Diplomatic relations between the 2 international locations have deteriorated sharply lately, with China livid over Australia banning Chinese telecoms large Huawei from constructing the nation’s 5G community. Australia cited nationwide safety considerations for its determination.

China has additionally been angered over Australia’s push for an impartial probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to criticism from Canberra over democracy and human rights points in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

China has in return imposed tariffs on Australian export price billions of {dollars}, in addition to lower off diplomatic channels between the 2 nations.

Both nations have accused one another of harassing residents as a approach of leverage of their disputes.

Another Australian, TV anchor Cheng Lei has been held since August final yr on accusations of “supplying state secrets overseas”.

And two Australian journalists have been rushed out of China shortly after, fearing being detained on spying fees.

Beijing has accused Canberra of raiding the properties of Chinese state media journalists as Australia investigates an alleged marketing campaign of covert affect.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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