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China Detains Australian Democracy activist Yang Hengjun

China's foreign ministry says that Chinese-Australian blogger, novelist and former Chinese diplomat Yang Hengjun was detained on charges of endangering national security.

Speaking at a Beijing daily press briefing Thursday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying offered few details Yang's arrest on suspicion of "criminal activities," the Associated Press reports. China's vague national security laws are commonly used to target critics of the ruling Communist Party.

Yang, 53, which is due to arrive in the Chinese city of Guangzhou early on Dec. 19 and then on Shanghai with his family. But he never cleared security for the second leg of the journey, said Feng Chongyi, associate professor in China studies at the University of Technology Sydney. Yang [1

94559006] Morning Herald reports.

A statement from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Yang, an Australian citizen since the early 2000s. for several years, is known for his spy novels and calls for democracy and reform in China. He has a nickname "Democracy Peddler" in some circles, according to the BBC.

Yang is the latest in a series of foreign nationals to be detained by China in recent months. Huawei, Beijing arrested two Canadians – Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. The government of Canada has been released, most of them released.

Neither is this Yang's first run-in with Chinese authorities. He recently disappeared in 2011 after calling a friend. He later said the matter had been "misunderstanding."

Kamakshi Ayyar at [email protected]

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