TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Officials in Canberra confirmed on Thursday Chinese-Australian Yang Hengjun, an author and former Chinese diplomat who is now an Australian citizen, had been detained shortly after he flew in to the southern city of Guangzhou from New York last week.
There has so far been no comment from China about Yang.
Tensions between China and some parts of the West have been heightened since two Canadians, a diplomat on unpaid leave and a consultant, were arrested in China on suspicion of endangering state security.
Those arrests were widely seen in the West as retaliation by Beijing for the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, a senior Huawei Technologies executive, in Canada on Dec. 1. She is accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Payne said staff from Australia’s embassy met Chinese officials on Thursday to seek answers and, while details were limited, she said there was no evidence that it was linked to Australia’s criticism of Beijing’s detention of two Canadians.
“At this stage there is no evidence of such a connection ... but I’d be concerned if there was an indication of that,” Payne told reporters in Sydney.
“We are calling on the Chinese authorities to ensure this matter is dealt with transparently and fairly,” she said.
Feng Chongyi, an academic at the University of Technology in Sydney, said he asked Yang to avoid traveling to China because of the tensions.
“I tried to persuade him not to go. I didn’t think it would be safe for him because of the situation with Huawei but he believed that he would fine as he had been there so many times,” Feng said.
The Australian government was first alerted that Yang had gone missing after friends said he had not been reachable for several days.