Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Fears rise over missing political blogger in China [The Age]

And now there are three. If proven true, this makes three Chinese-Australians that have been ‘targeted by China’s justice system in recent years, following Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu and entrepreneur Matthew Ng.’

For more on Yang, visit his website here.

Yang Hengjun. A photo of "Old Yang" posted recently to his blog, in which he poses with a number of books that are banned in China. Source - China Media Project

Elsewhere in cyberspace –

“I have not heard of such a person,” was the response given by foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu at a press conference yesterday when asked about the whereabouts of celebrity Chinese blogger and CMP fellow Yang Hengjun (杨恒均). Yang, known for his outspoken advocacy of democracy and freedom through personal anecdote, has been unreachable since he reported being followed in the Guangzhou airport late Sunday. (China Media Project, 2011)

– – –

Fears rise over missing political blogger in China
Dylan Welch and John Garnaut
Source – The Age, published March 30, 2011

CHINA’S crackdown on internet dissent, sparked by the ”jasmine” revolutions sweeping the Middle East, may have claimed its highest-profile target, with one of China’s most influential political bloggers disappearing at Guangzhou airport.

The disappearance of Yang Hengjun, an Australian citizen and one of China’s more prominent online political analysts, will also prove a headache for Julia Gillard, who is due to visit China late next month.

Dr Yang, a former Chinese Foreign Ministry officer turned novelist and political blogger, has not been seen since calling a colleague from the airport on Sunday to say that he was being followed by three men.

His friends and relatives, including his Sydney-based wife, are worried he has been taken by security police.

He is the third Chinese-Australian citizen to be targeted by China’s justice system in recent years, following Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu and entrepreneur Matthew Ng.

Hu was sentenced to 10 years in jail for receiving bribes and commercial secrets. Ng is yet to face trial.

”Yang Hengjun is the most influential political blogger in China, with millions of readers,” said Feng Chongyi, Dr Yang’s doctoral supervisor at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Yesterday afternoon, the Foreign Affairs Department said it was ”concerned” about reports of Dr Yang’s disappearance. ”The Australian consul-general in Guangzhou is urgently seeking to confirm the man’s whereabouts and well-being and provide him with consular assistance if needed,” a Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said.

Dr Yang’s disappearance comes four weeks before Ms Gillard leads the largest-ever business delegation to China. It is expected she will be making representations to the Chinese government about Hu and Ng, and she may have to add Mr Yang to that list.

Dr Yang published a spy novel several years ago called Fatal Weakness, which deals with corruption and espionage in contemporary China.

Three companies initially offered to publish it, but they were forced to withdraw their offers due to government censorship, Dr Yang said in an online message two years ago.

In the same message, he also discussed what was necessary to be a writer in China: ”All I have right now is just a little bit of courage.

”In a country without freedom of speech and where speech can result in criminal charges, authentic writing requires a little bit of courage.”


Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Culture, Democracy, Human Rights, International Relations, Media, People, Politics, Reform, Social, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Yang Hengjun

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