Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Monday that the treatment of an Australian writer detained in China was "unacceptable", after reports that he was being interrogated daily while chained.
Yang, who was a visiting scholar at Columbia University and lived with his family in NY, could face between three years of imprisonment and the death penalty if found guilty of espionage in China.
"I am very concerned by reports from a recent consular visit to Australian citizen Dr Yang Hengjun, who remains in criminal detention in China", she said in a statement on Monday.
Payne said that despite the Australian government making repeated requests to Chinese authorities for Yang to be treated humanely and in line with global norms, there have been no substantive changes to his conditions.
"This has not led to any substantive changes in his treatment", Senator Payne said.
"We will continue to express clearly our expectations towards the Chinese authorities, both in Beijing and Canberra, including the release of Dr. Yang and the fact that he will be treated fairly and personally during his detention", she added.
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Some analysts suspect Yang has been detained because of Chinese anger over Australian legislation passed by Parliament a year ago that outlaws covert foreign interference in Australian politics and institutions.
The Chinese Embassy in Australia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has denied that Yang - one of a string of foreign nationals recently arrested in China - was a spy.
Some analysts suspect that Yang has been arrested over China's anger over Australian legislation passed a year ago by Parliament, which bans alien interference in Australian politics and institutions.
It has also asked that he be given access to his lawyers and family.
Morrison says that he shares Payne's concern for Yang.