Melbourne, Australia – Chinese and Australian citizen Yang Hengjun is expected to appear in China on Thursday, charged with spying and accusing him of being an Australian spy.
In a letter written in March and released the next day of the trial, Yang was stoic.
In a letter, broadcast on Australian television, he wrote: “There is nothing more liberating than informing others of the worst.” “I am not afraid now. I will not tolerate.
“The beliefs and beliefs that we shared, as well as those that I shared with my readers, are bigger than I am.”
The 56-year-old author, blogger and democrat was was arrested in January 2019 after arriving at Guangzhou airport by his wife and has been sentenced to death if found guilty of being “a threat to national security and harm to the country and the people”. The minimum penalty is three years.
The Australian government has denied the allegations in a statement issued Friday stating “Similar, baseless allegations concerning Australia’s intelligence have been made more than once. Canberra said Yang’s arrest was “illegal”.
According to Amnesty International, Yang may have faced nearly 300 questions during his time in prison.
The interrogator, Feng Chongyi, said he was made to “withdraw the confession” and make “a case against him”.
Feng, an Australian citizen who is self-proclaimed “Chinese Liberalist” was also detained by the Chinese government one week in 2017 on his way to study.
“My arrest was similar to that of Yang – trying to establish a spy case,” Feng told Al Jazeera. “But I was very fortunate to have escaped the tragedy of Yang.”
Feng says he and other liberal people like Yang want to “advance the rule of law, human rights and democracy.”
“And indeed, in doing so, we are protesting against the one-party dictatorship and re-examining the Chinese people, especially government relations.”
Defendant to be a detractor, a writer
Feng has known Yang since 2005 as a “friend and companion”, describing him as “a lover and a lover of action”.
Feng confirmed that Yang worked for the Chinese Ministry of Defense (MSS) for 14 years on what he called “territories”.
But according to Feng, Yang became frustrated with his job with the MSS and began writing spy books to “survive in a job he did not believe in.” [in] or had any interest “.
Such books were about the experiences of Yang in the ministry and although they were not published as a book in China, they were sent online by fraud.
Yang and Feng were originally connected to the internet. He first moved to Australia in 2000 and began studying under Feng at Sydney University of Technology after five years.
In particular, Feng says, Yang has learned “how the internet can be a Chinese communist state. That is why in doing so, he has transformed himself into a liberal”.
After Yang graduated, the two worked together on a number of media outlets, printed books and held workshops on China’s rights and democracy.
Feng says Yang’s father – a head teacher and teacher – “was prosecuted by the government [and] they have never had a good relationship with or about the Communist regime ”.
In doing so, he believes that perhaps the trust, along with Feng’s education, turned Yang into a regional government agent into a pro-democracy activist.
Yang’s status as an Australian citizen has changed his imprisonment with the advent of anti-immigration lawsuits.
In a recent press statement, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said that “despite repeated requests by Australian authorities, Chinese officials have not provided any explanation or evidence on the charges against Dr Yang”.
“Since his arrest, Dr. Yang has not had the opportunity to find his family, and to shrink, delayed access to his office.”
The statement also raises concerns that the trial will be closed, with no Australian officials present.
Diplomats were barred from court in Canada Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, Who was detained for a month before Yang was allowed to join them, was charged with espionage in March. Both men are awaiting trial. Chinese courts have convicted 99 percent of their defendants.
“We have informed the Chinese authorities, very clearly, of the concerns we have about Dr Yang’s treatment and the lack of a system in which to prosecute him,” Payne said.
“According to the principles of justice, the chances of a trial should be kept to a minimum in order to be in line with international standards for fairness.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Yang’s trial would be in accordance with Chinese law.
“China’s law enforcement agencies handle law enforcement and fully protect the rights and freedoms of workers,” Zhao told Al Jazeera when asked about the matter. “Of the above, I have no information to give you at this time.”
Links to disturbed countries
Australia has a close relationship with China but relations have been strained as a result of Australia’s call for an investigation into the start of COVID-19 in Wuhan when the first cases of the disease were discovered in late 2019.
Concerns are mounting over human rights abuses against the Uighur people, including the arrest of Uighur brothers who are Australian nationals.
China has recently accused Australians of Uighur of being “terrorist” and last month Cheng Jingye, China’s ambassador to Canberra, held a press conference in which he called allegations of human rights abuses in Uighurs “false”.
Also, Yang is not the only Australian in China. Cheng Lei, the popular business anchor of CGTN, a state-run radio station, went missing in August last year. The following month, he was indicted on national security charges.
The arrests have attracted the attention of human rights organizations around the world.
The head of the Amnesty International China Team, Joshua Rosenzweig, said this week that “the charges against Yang appear to be politically motivated because of statements he has made against the Chinese government. This is a clear violation of his right to freedom of expression.”
Rosenzweig added: “Yang’s case is another piece of evidence that the arrest, interrogation, secrecy and strong refusal to prosecute on frivolous charges are part of a series of Chinese government documents against antigovernment and human rights activists. .
“Unless China provides conclusive, conclusive and convincing evidence that Yang is guilty worldwide, he should be released immediately after all charges have been dropped.”
However, each other is hopeless. Feng believes the case will not go away, allowing state officials to keep him in custody forever.
“What is happening at the moment and the fact that the party is punishing Yang means that he will inflict severe punishment on him,” he told Al Jazeera.
“This is a violation of human rights. I need to call on the states and governments of Australia to save Yang, and to uphold the basic principles of human rights. ”
“Yang is my best friend. I have a responsibility to save him, to bring him to Australia. ”