Chinese-Australian writer Yang Hengjun has been arrested on espionage charges after being detained in southern China for seven months, the Australian government said. Yang’s lawyer, Rob Stary, told CNN that few details had been released about the case beyond the spying charges. “We don’t know whether he’s accused of spying on behalf of a third party actor—a foreign government such as Australia or the U.S.,” Stary said. “We know him as a blogger and democracy activist—so we can’t conceive of any other actions outside of his role as a political agitator.” Espionage can be punished by death in China, though Stary said it was “not within our contemplation that this case will attract that penalty.” Yang was detained in Guangzhou, along with his wife, in January while visiting from New York.
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