Grave concerns held for Yang Hengjun after new trial delay

Amnesty International remains gravely concerned for the welfare of Australian writer Yang Hengjun who has been in custody in China awaiting trial for three years.

Dr Yang’s family and colleagues have told Amnesty that he is in poor health and that he has been informed his trial on espionage charges has yet again been delayed. His hearing was due this month.

“Amnesty understands Dr Yang has 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 said.

“We welcome Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s statement that the Australian government continues to advocate for Dr Yang and we renew our calls on Chinese authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally unless there is sufficient credible and admissible evidence that she has committed an internationally recognised offence and is granted a fair trial in line with international standards.”

“More than 20,000 Australians have expressed their support for Dr Yang and the Australian Government has made robust representations to the Chinese authorities, but we would encourage them to continue to keep up the pressure for his immediate and unconditional release.”


He has been detained since 2019 on totally 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.