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Australian minister says no proof writer's detention in China related to Canada, policies

2019-01-28 06:43
Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said on Monday (January 28) there was no proof the detention of a Chinese-born Australian writer by authorities in Beijing was related to the detention of Canadians in China or Australian policies. Yang Hengjun was detained in southern China earlier this month and taken to Beijing where China has said he was held under "coercive measures", a euphemism for detention, as he is being investigated on suspicion of "endangering state security". Tensions have risen in recent weeks between China and some Western countries after two Canadians, a diplomat on unpaid leave and a consultant, were arrested in China on suspicion of endangering state security. Australia joined international condemnation of the arrest of the Canadians, but Yang has long been in the sights of Chinese authorities. He has criticised what he described as Chinese interference in Australia. Pyne also said Australia was open to conducting "multilateral activities in the South China Sea to demonstrate they are international waters. China claims almost all of the strategic South China Sea and frequently lambastes the United States and its allies over naval operations near Chinese-occupied islands.