The Australian Greens condemn in the strongest terms the Chinese Government’s decision to formally indict Australian citizen Dr Yang Hengjun on espionage charges.
Leader of the Greens and foreign policy spokesperson Adam Bandt said the Australian Government had an important role to play in securing his freedom, and with charges now laid, the window of opportunity to get him free may be closing.
“The first duty of any government should be to keep its people safe, and while the government may be distracted, Dr Yang doesn’t have any time to spare,” Mr Bandt said.
“For more than a year, Dr Yang has been subject to appalling treatment by the Chinese authorities. He has had no access to legal representation, he has been refused letters from family and friends, and has been denied the opportunity to meet with Australian officials.
“There have been periods where he’s been forced to sit on a stool for 17 hours straight – and now, Dr Yang could face the death penalty. We don’t even know what he is supposed to have done wrong.
“The fact that the Chinese Government has chosen to charge Dr Yang now, amidst a global pandemic, is a disgrace. He must be released immediately and allowed to leave China with his wife.
“Calling for democratic reform in China should not be a crime. I welcome the strong statement from Foreign Minister Payne, and urge the Prime Minister to speak directly with his Chinese counterpart to call for Dr Yang’s freedom.”