Lawyers for Australian writer detained in China urge Government to intervene

Lawyers for Australian writer detained in China urge Government to intervene

Lawyers for Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who has been detained in China since January, are urging Canberra to intervene.

The calls come after Mr Yang’s wife, Yuan Xiaoliang, was prevented from leaving China to return to Australia by officers from the Ministry of State Security on Sunday.

Ms Yuan was not detained but has been questioned by Chinese authorities and is subject to an exit ban.

She was interrogated for two hours on Sunday, according to her lawyer.

Mr Yang’s lawyers are demanding Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne apply for his immediate release.

“They are Australians and every Australian — and our government — should demand their immediate release”, Mr Yang’s lawyer Robert Stary said.

Ms Payne said she has asked Mr Yang be granted immediate access to his lawyers.

“Australia has asked for clarification regarding the reasons for his detention”, Ms Payne said.

“And we have said that if he is being detained purely for his political views then he should be released.”

Mr Yang was detained in Guanzhou in January after flying there from New York.

The only contact Mr Yang has had with the outside world is monthly visits from the Australian consulate.

A close friend of the two, Professor Chongyi Feng, said Mr Yang has not been well.

“They still torture him, three guards will take shifts 24 hours a day watching over him”, Dr Feng said.

“They will leave a bright light on 24 hours a day, he has a small stool he sits on for 12 hours a day and he is not permitted to go outside at all.”

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