The detention of Chinese-born Australian writer Yang Hengjun over suspected espionage has sparked division within the overseas Chinese community, with critics questioning his professional history as well as his ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
- Dr Yang was at a Chinese state banquet in 2014 which was also attended by Xi Jinping
- He is also a personal shopper selling products including Australian baby formula
- The arrest made some Chinese diaspora more cautious about speaking out against Beijing
Dr Yang, whose legal name is Yang Jun, was a former employee at China’s ministries of foreign affairs and state security before migrating to Australia where he reportedly obtained his citizenship in 2002.
The 53-year-old had been living with his family in New York, where he has been a visiting scholar at Columbia University since 2017, before his arrest at Guangzhou airport in southern China earlier this month.