An Australian newspaper says a Chinese-Australian writer and dissident has been detained during a visit to his native country.
The Sydney Morning Herald says Yang Hengjun was detained by security agents at the airport in the southern China city of Guangzhou last Friday after arriving with his wife and her child after a flight from New York. The family was set to catch a connecting flight to Shanghai, but Yang was not allowed to continue.
Yang’s friends reported his disappearance to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The department says it is “seeking information about an Australian citizen who has been reported missing in China,” but will not provide any further details due to privacy obligations.
Yang is a former Chinese diplomat turned democracy activist and novelist. His detention in China occurs amid the detention of two Canadian nationals in China in apparent retaliation for the arrest of a senior Chinese executive in Canada.
Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer for Chinese telecom giant Huawei, was arrested in Vancouver on December 1 on behalf of the United States, which is seeking her extradition over alleged violations of U.S. trade sanctions on Iran.
Yang may also be the latest in a string of activists and human rights lawyers who have been detained in a sweeping crackdown on dissidents since President Xi Jingping took power in 2012.