Amnesty International remains gravely concerned for the welfare of Australian writer Yang Hengjun who has been in custody in China since 2019 and is still awaiting a trial verdict that has been delayed multiple times.
Dr Yang’s family and colleagues have told Amnesty that his health continues to be a serious concern and that last month he fainted twice due to poor health and malnutrition.
His family also informed Amnesty that a secret trial on Yang’s case was held on 27 May 2021, but the deadline for the verdict of his case has been delayed seven times. The current deadline is 9 April 2023.
“Amnesty understands Dr Yang has endured hundreds of interrogations and been held in inhumane conditions with severely restricted access to his lawyer and he remains at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment.”AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AUSTRALIA CAMPAIGNER NIKITA WHITE
“We renew our calls on Chinese authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally unless there is sufficient credible and admissible evidence that he has committed an internationally recognised offence and is granted a fair trial in line with international standards,” said White.
“Yang’s arbitrary detention in China is an outrageous political persecution for his advocacy for universal values such as human rights, democracy and the rule of law,” said Chongyi Feng, colleague and close friend of Yang.
“Yang has asked me to convey to his friends and supporters that four years is a long time, and he has suffered but he has not been conquered.
“He gives his thanks to the many people, international organisations and the Australian Government and Australian Embassy for their efforts to help him get his freedom back and says his gratitude is beyond words,” said Feng.
Thousands of Australians have expressed their support for Dr Yang and Amnesty International encourages them to continue to keep up the pressure for his immediate and unconditional release.
Dr Yang Hengjun has been detained since 2019 on baseless allegations that he is a spy, charges which appear to be politically motivated over articles he wrote that were critical of the Chinese government. This is an outrageous attack on his right to freedom of expression.