Australian consular staff visit detained author in Beijing | News | DW | 25.01.2019
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Australian consular staff visit detained author in Beijing

Australia's Foreign Ministry has confirmed consular officials visited Yang Hengjun in Beijing on Friday. The activist and blogger was arrested at Guangzhou airport last week and had not been heard from since.

The Australian Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed staff from its Beijing embassy made a consular visit to detained author Yang Hengjun on Friday afternoon.

A statement released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade read "access to Mr. Yang was provided in accordance with [its] bilateral consular agreement with China."

Citing Australia's Privacy Act, the statement added: "We will not provide further details about Mr. Yang or the contents of our consular discussions with Mr. Yang."

Read more: China like holding author Yang Hengjun in 'special detention,' says close friend.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Thursday urged Chinese authoritiesto treat the author-activist "fairly" and to clarify the grounds for his detention.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne standing in front of the Australian flag in Canberra (Imago/J. Qian)

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said consular staff were working with Chinese authorities.

Ms Payne spoke to DW on Thursday in Davos.

"It's premature for me to really make any comment beyond that except to confirm that we've been notified through the appropriate bilateral protocols of the detention," she said. "We're now working with the Chinese authorities to gain consular access and to find out precisely what is alleged and what the next steps are from here."

Beijing said it arrested Yang Hengjun at Guangzhou airport last week for "engaging in criminal activities that endanger China's national security."

Read moreAnalyst: China has to be put in the category of a 'rogue state'

nn/msh (Reuters, AFP)

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