/ 28 May 2021

Oz locked out of China trial

Australia’s Ambassador to China Graham Fletcher said he was barred from entering the Beijing court where Aussie citizen/academic Dr Yang Hengjun appeared yesterday on espionage charges. The reason: COVID-19 restrictions and because it was a national security issue. “This is deeply regrettable, concerning and unsatisfactory,” Fletcher said yesterday. Hengjun has been detained for 2 years, and if convicted, he could face the death penalty. The 56yo pro-democracy writer denies the charges and says he’s a victim of political persecution. China hasn’t provided any details about what Hengjun is alleged to have done and, earlier in the week, labelled a request for access by Foreign Minister Marise Payne as “deplorable”. China has a long history of suppressing dissenting views. Overnight a controversial law was passed in Hong Kong aimed at keeping people China deems “unpatriotic” from positions of political power.

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