#Australian Government should hold Chinese authorities to account on missing Australian – Greens

Government should hold Chinese authorities to account on missing Australian – Greens

Media Release – Tuesday March 29th, 2011

The Australian Greens have expressed grave concern for the welfare of an Australian writer who has vanished in China.

Novelist and online commentator Yang Hengjun, a former Chinese diplomat now based in Sydney, has been not been seen since telephoning a colleague from Guangzhou airport on Sunday with the news that he was being followed by three men.

Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd should raise the issue with the Chinese government as soon as possible.

“Unless Dr Yang turns up safe and sound immediately, the Australian Government must hold the Chinese authorities to account,” he said.

“Dr Yang has millions of readers and has been described as the most influential political blogger in China; his disappearance could be part of a crackdown from the Chinese government to crush any attempt by Chinese dissidents to replicate the protests that have swept the Middle East,” said Senator Ludlam.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have advised that consular officers in Guangzhou are seeking to confirm with Chinese authorities the whereabouts of Dr Yang “as a matter of priority and provide him with consular assistance if needed”.

“Unless the efforts of consular officials meet with success very soon, Foreign Minister Rudd should raise this immediately,” said Senator Ludlam. “The disappearance of Dr Yang warrants the intervention of the Foreign Minister himself – it strikes right at the heart of those people in China who strive for a free and open society.”

Media Contact: Giovanni Torre

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