Government Must Shift Course on How It Deals With Authoritarian Regimes

If the reaction of the Australian government to the imposition of a suspended death penalty on Yang Hengjun is any indication of future attitudes to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), it is dangerous and depressing.

Mr. Yang is an Australian citizen. His alleged crime occurred 28 years ago in Hong Kong. Working as an academic on the island and later in the United States was a cover for his actual employment as an operative for the CCP’s Ministry of State Security.

He eventually resigned from the ministry and returned to academic studies in the United States. There was nothing about his life and activities then that were considered remotely anti-CCP.

Mr. Yang, who emigrated to Australia, subsequently became a social media activist, mildly critical of the CCP. This appears to be his real crime, for which he was arrested after returning to China in 2019 to see family and friends.

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