confirmed the suspended death sentence of the writer and pro-democracy activist Yang Hengjun, an Australian citizen of Chinese origin, according to his relatives this Monday, coinciding with the visit to Australia of the Chinese Prime Minister, Li Qiang.

“The authorities have reviewed and confirmed his suspended death sentence sentence,” his family and friends said in a statement cited this Monday by the Australian public broadcaster SBS.

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“It is understood that Yang is now being transferred to a permanent prison, after more than five years in a state security detention center,” the text adds without providing further details.

Yang, a former public official China who obtained Australian nationality in 2002, was sentenced in February of this year to a suspended death sentence for accusations of espionage, which prevents his execution in the next two years if he does not commit any serious crime, after three years of an opaque trial .

The defenders of Yangwho maintains his innocence and suffers from serious health problems, urged Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Monday to ask Li Qiang that the 58-year-old academic “be released on medical parole or otherwise transferred to a safe location in Australia, in accordance with basic humanitarian principles.”

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Albanese is expected to address Yang’s case during his meeting this Monday in Canberra with Li, the number two of the Chinese Government and the first leader of the Asian giant to visit Australia since 2017, the year in which relations began to deteriorate for various reasons.

“We will not always agree, and the points on which we disagree will not simply disappear if we leave them silent,” according to an excerpt of the speech – leaked by The Sydney Morning Herald – that Albanese will give during the meeting with Li, who arrived on Saturday to Australia during an official visit to normalize bilateral relations that concludes on Tuesday.

Yang, a former official of the Chinese Ministry of Security who wrote about political issues in China and the United States in a successful blog, suffers from a serious kidney infection and his health has deteriorated due to the conditions of his confinement and the erratic administration of medications, according to previous statements from his relatives.

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The writer, who obtained citizenship of Australia in 2002, after emigrating there in 1998, he was living with his family in New York when at the beginning of 2019 he was detained at the Canton airport while making a stopover on the way to Australiain the midst of the deterioration of relations between Beijing and Canberra.