Yang Hengjun
Detained Australian Yang Hengjun. (Image: AP/Zhan min)

China’s authoritarian regime has resumed its outrageous practice of treating Australian citizens who were born in China with the same extrajudicial disregard as it treats its own citizens, with the effective kidnapping of writer and popular online commentator Yang Hengjun, 53, and his family at Guangzhou airport on January 19 as he tried to board a plane to Shanghai.

While his wife and step-daughter -- who are Chinese citizens -- were eventually able to continue on the planned journey to Shanghai, Yang remains in what Defence Minister Christopher Pyne, who just happens to be in Beijing at the moment, rather incongruously and erroneously described as “house detention”.