Standards of justice: Australia slams China's 'unacceptable' treatment of jailed writer

Missing Chinese Australian writer Yang Hengjun. 24 Jan 2-19

Morrison says that he shares Payne's concern for Yang.

SYDNEY-Australia on Monday criticized the treatment of a Chinese-born Australian writer detained by Beijing for nearly a year and called for more details on his case.

At a daily briefing in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said an unidentified Chinese national security body would handle Yang's case "in accordance with law and fully guarantee the various rights of the person involved". "This has not led to any substantive changes in his treatment".

"We want to discuss problems with access to lawyers, focus on the Australian citizen, and ensure that his access to family and treatment is met".

Marise Payne said in a statement that she is "very concerned" by the reports she received after a recent consular visit to Yang Hengjun, who was detained by the Chinese government early this year.

China's near-silence about Yang's fate has been a point of friction in relations with Australia.

"We will continue to express clearly our expectations towards the Chinese authorities, both in Beijing and Canberra, including the release of Dr. Yang and the fact that he will be treated fairly and personally during his detention", she added.

"Australia always has to stand up for our citizens and we have to be true to who we are as a people", Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

Australia had been raising concerns about Yang's imprisonment "for some time", Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, adding that the welfare of an Australian citizen was paramount.

Payne said that the Australian government had asked China to explain the charges against Yang and to respect his right to basic standards of justice, procedural fairness and humane treatment, including access to his lawyer and family as per worldwide standards, "both of which continue to be denied to him".

Before his detention in January, he spent two years with his family in NY, where he was a visiting professor at Columbia University.

The Chinese Embassy in Australia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But China has told Australia to respect the nation's "judicial sovereignty" and not interfere in the case.

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