China Australian writer Yang Jun will not appeal his suspended

China: Australian writer Yang Jun will not appeal his suspended death sentence

Australian writer of Chinese descent Yang Jun will not appeal his suspended death sentence handed down by a Beijing court, his family announced on Wednesday, denouncing the “inhumane” treatment they say he is suffering in China.

• Also read: China: Australian writer Yang Jun sentenced to death on probation for espionage

• Also read: Life imprisonment in China for Americans accused of espionage

The writer and blogger, a supporter of China's democratization, was given a suspended death sentence in early February after being found “guilty of espionage,” which he denies.

In China, a suspended death sentence is usually commuted to life imprisonment after two years in prison.

Yang Jun, whose health has deteriorated due to a cyst in his kidney, according to his family, no longer has the strength to fight the allegations against him, she says.

“Filing an appeal would only delay his chance to receive adequate and monitored medical care after five years of inhumane treatment and a dismal lack of medical care,” his family said in a statement.

“The deterioration of Mr. Yang's physical condition does not allow him to endure further legal proceedings,” the text continues.

Mr Yang's family said they would instead seek medical treatment for his “severe kidney problem”.

A Chinese diplomatic spokesman, Mao Ning, on Wednesday defended China's handling of the case and reiterated that the country's judicial system “will continue to protect the rights and legal interests of the parties involved in accordance with the law.”

“China is a country governed by the rule of law and the Chinese judicial organs are handling this matter in accordance with the law,” the spokesman stressed.

Yang Jun's sentencing is likely to put renewed strain on relations between Australia and China, which had calmed since last year.

“We will continue to advocate for the interests and well-being of Dr. Yang and provide him with consular assistance,” Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Wednesday.

“I salute the strength shown by his family and friends during this time,” she added in a statement.

Yang Hengjun, also known by his pseudonym, was born in 1965 and is the father of two children. He became an Australian citizen in 2002.

This former Chinese diplomat was arrested while living in the United States during a visit to China in January 2019.