‘Torture’: Aussie detained in China’s powerful message
Detained Australian writer Yang Hengjun has sent a Christmas message to his family, supporters and readers saying he is mentally stronger than ever and will continue to fight for his rights and freedom.
Dr Yang, a 55 year old pro-democracy blogger who was detained in China two years ago on charges of espionage said he still has confidence in the court process.
"I think they will give me justice. Whether or not they judge me guilty will say a lot about whether the court is governed by rule of law or by pure absolute power, Dr Yang said in a rare statement released by his supporters.
"I am not guilty. I was subjected to a record 300 interrogations. If they could have found something, they would have already accused me … I will do my best, alongside my lawyer, to fight for my rights and defend my innocence," he wrote.
The statement comes just days after it was revealed Chinese authorities have pushed back his trial on spying charges by three months. A trial before the Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court had been due to begin by January.
Dr Yang, a former employee of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and now democracy activist studied in Australia and became a writer of spy novels. China charged Dr Yang in March with spying more than a year after he was detained at Guangzhou airport.
In the past eight months through the COVID-19 pandemic he has been denied any outside visitors and it has been reported during that time he was subjected to solitary confinement and torture which left him with a limp.
Australian Embassy officials are understood to have met Dr Yang last week, but they nor Dr Yang have been provided with details of the allegations against him.
It has been reported that his interrogators falsely claimed to Dr Yang that the Australian government had abandoned him, while Chinese authorities falsely claimed to Australian officials last year he had confessed.
He has been told he could face the death penalty if found guilty.
But Dr Yang told his wife, sons and family not to worry about him.
"After two years, especially with torture, more than 300 interrogations and a lot of verbal abuse, I am now in a place of deeper retrospective and introspective meditation.
"It makes me strong. I think a lot about my life, especially the past 20 years. My life has meaning. Don't worry about me. I feel sorrow that when I was free, I didn't spend enough time with you.
Dr Yang is among several Australians, including TV anchor Cheng Lei, detained by Chinese authorities.
Hopes were raised that he might be freed when Australian Uighur man Sadam Abdusalam was released earlier this month and reunited with his wife and three-year-old son being held under house arrest in Xinjiang.
Originally published as 'Torture': Aussie detained in China's powerful message