The Australian Government is deeply disappointed that Australian citizen and academic Dr Yang Hengjun (Dr Yang Jun) has been transferred to criminal detention in China. Dr Yang has been detained since 19 January this year.

Formal notification was received today from Chinese authorities of his criminal detention.

The Australian Government has raised its concerns about Dr Yang's case regularly with China at senior levels. Australian Embassy officials have visited Dr Yang six times, most recently on 27 June, in accordance with our bilateral consular agreement with China. I have written twice to China's Foreign Minister, State Councilor Wang Yi, to request a fair and transparent resolution to this matter and that Dr Yang be granted access to his lawyers. This has not occurred.

The Government has expressed concern about Dr Yang's welfare and the conditions under which he is held. And we have asked for clarification regarding the reasons for Dr Yang's detention. If he is being detained for his political views, then he should be released.

We have worked tirelessly and in good faith with the Chinese Government to advocate for Dr Yang's interests since he was detained. We expect basic standards of justice and procedural fairness to be met.

The Australian Government is concerned by this development in relation to an Australian citizen. We will continue to press Chinese authorities for fair and humane treatment, in accordance with international norms. Our thoughts are with Dr Yang and his family during this difficult period.

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