The wife of an Australian citizen jailed in China has tearfully asked for answers to the fate of her husband, who was once a Communist Party insider.
She broke her silence for an ABC investigation into how the Chinese are influencing Australian politics, including billionaire real estate developer Huang Xiangmo, who sparked a new dispute between former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his bitter rival liberal party leader Peter Dutton.
Xiaoliang Yuan and her husband Yang Hengjun flew to China in January.
When they arrived with their 14-year-old daughter, officials were waiting at the airport.
Multi-billion dollar Chinese real estate developer Huang Xiangmo (pictured with former Secretary of State Julie Bishop) paid former Howard Secretary Santo Santoro $ 10,000 to have his citizenship application submitted to Home Secretary Peter Dutton
Three months after her husband's detention without charge, Ms. Xiaoliang said in her first media interview that she had no idea where he was.
"My family, a family member that I was with every day and then suddenly disappeared," she said tearfully to the ABC's Four Corners program.
"I have absolutely no idea whether he is fine or whether he is alive or not.
& # 39; It's just no news at all. So I'm devastated. I just want him to come home safely. & # 39;
Mr. Yang has not been charged, but has been accused of endangering state security and has been denied access to a lawyer, the ABC reported.
His wife was banned from leaving China and remains in Shanghai.
Mr. Yang was arrested after Chinese officials learned that he had met with Mr. Turnbull's Chinese adviser, John Garnaut, who was preparing a top-secret report on the Communist Party's interference in Australian affairs.
Xiaoliang Yuan (left) and her husband Yang Hengjun (right) flew to Shanghai in January. Mr. Yang was arrested after Chinese officials learned that he had spilled secrets about the Communist Party regime
Mr. Garnaut declined to disclose the content of his report to ABC, but indicated that Chinese officials felt threatened by Mr. Yang.
"This is the most powerful story of all, is the insider who has learned too much and tells his story outside," he said.
The Four Corners program also revealed how former Howard government minister Santo Santoro had persuaded interior minister Mr. Dutton to speed up Mr. Huang's offer of citizenship.
Mr Santoro, who, like Mr Dutton, came from the right Liberal National Party faction in Queensland, had accepted a payment of USD 10,000 from Mr Huang to forward his case to the then Immigration Minister.
"There is no one better able to help you with this particular part of the project than I am," said Santoro.
& # 39; Nobody. I can go to someone in the minister's office and say, "Can you take a closer look?"
One day after the ABC investigation was broadcast, Malcolm Turnbull (to the left of Chinese President Xi Jinping) requested a statement from Mr. Dutton, who unsuccessfully challenged him in August to lead the Liberal Party
"If I do the job and go to Canberra with a copy of the visa application and hand it over to someone and say," Can you help? ", No, no, I want to be paid and paid in advance. & # 39;
One day after the ABC investigation was broadcast, Mr. Turnbull requested a statement from Mr. Dutton, who unsuccessfully challenged him in August to lead the Liberal Party.
"Peter Dutton has a lot to explain," he told reporters in Sydney.
& # 39; He is said to be the minister responsible for Australia's internal security.
"He should be the minister responsible for ensuring that our policies are not influenced by foreign actors."
Mr. Dutton (pictured) confirmed lunch with Mr. Huang in 2016 but declined the businessman's support
Mr. Dutton confirmed lunch with Mr. Huang to the Australian Associated Press in 2016, but declined to support the businessman who was banned from re-entering Australia last year after the Australian security and intelligence agency said he was threatening foreigners Interfering with his ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
Mr. Turnbull said his successor Scott Morrison could not dismiss the topic as "gossip in the Canberra bubble".
"I know what it's like to be prime minister, and it's ultimately your responsibility. And so Scott Morrison has to deal with this Peter Dutton problem, ”he said.
The one-on-one meeting followed Mr. Dutton's approval of an application for a private citizenship ceremony for Mr. Huang's wife and daughter in January 2015 at former Labor Senator Sam Dastyari's office in Sydney.
Former Labor Senator Sam Dastyari (pictured) held a private citizenship ceremony for Mr. Huang's wife and daughter at his Sydney election office
The private event enabled them to become citizens faster than others who have to wait for a public ceremony.
Mr. Dastyari, who was forced to leave parliament in 2018 after his business with Mr. Huang was revealed, told ABC that he had written to Mr. Dutton asking for accelerated citizenship for Mr. Huang's family.
"I'm not the immigration minister, am I? I mean, if Peter Dutton's explanation for Sam Dastyari asking him is ridiculous, ”he said.
In December 2017, Mr. Dutton accused Mr. Dastyari of being a double agent for China.
"If you are an Australian senator, you cannot be loyal to two countries," he told reporters in Melbourne.
"Your first duty is the Australian people and Sam Dastyari has failed to do so."
You said it about China
* & # 39; There is no one better able than me to help you in this particular part of the project. Nobody. … I can go to someone in the minister's office and say, "Can you take a closer look?" – Former liberal minister Santo Santoro, who successfully campaigned for businessman Huang Xiangmo to get a meeting with Peter Dutton in 2016
* & # 39; My government introduced legislation to ensure that we counteract this foreign interference. We spent millions of dollars on the budget last week to make sure of that. When it comes to this issue, our government's balance sheet is squeaky clean. & # 39; Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
* & # 39; I have never received a dollar donation from this person, and even if I did, it would never affect the outcome of a decision I made. & # 39; – Home Secretary Peter Dutton
* & # 39; What did he (Huang) get from me? He is now off the coast and prevented from returning to Australia. So somehow, you know, what I saw last night just doesn't pile up. & # 39; – Mr. Dutton
* & # 39; Scott Morrison is the prime minister and you can't stop saying that everything is part of the gossip and the bubble. This is Australia's national security. Do you remember the excitement that came over Senator Dastyari? The Prime Minister must address this with the highest security priority. The money stays with him. & # 39; – Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
* & # 39; This is cash for access. Mr. Dutton … has to explain everything he did about Mr. Huang's citizenship. & # 39; – Attorney General Mark Dreyfus
Source: Australian Associated Press
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