Australian FM says China is holding citizen in ‘unacceptable’ conditions

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Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Monday a Chinese-born Australian writer was being held by Beijing in “unacceptable” conditions, including daily interrogations while shackled.

Yang Hengjun, a former Chinese diplomat turned online journalist and blogger, was arrested in August on suspicion of espionage, seven months after he was originally detained in the southern city of Guangzhou.

Espionage is punishable by death in China, and Beijing has told Australia not to interfere.

“His circumstances of detention include increased isolation from the outside world, with restrictions on his communications with family and friends, and the resumption of daily interrogation, including while shackled,” Payne said in an e-mailed statement.

“This is unacceptable.”

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