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Australia urges China to treat detained writer fairly

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia’s foreign minister has urged China to treat a Chinese-Australian writer fairly and says there is no evidence that his detention is part of a backlash against Canada’s arrest of a top Chinese telecommunications executive.

Spy novelist and online commentator Yang Hengjun was a Chinese diplomat before he became an Australian citizen. Friends say the 53-year-old had been living in New York as a visiting scholar at Columbia University and had returned to China last week with his wife and 14-year-old stepdaughter.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australian Embassy officials had their first meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing on Yang’s detention on Thursday. Australia had requested urgent consular accesses to him, an explanation for his detention and of possible charges.

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