Dr Yang said “as Christmas and New Year approaches, I miss you more and more”.

“After two years, especially with torture, more than 300 interrogations and a lot of verbal abuse, I am now in a place of deeper retrospective and introspective meditation,” Dr Yang said in the letter.

“It makes me strong. I think a lot about my life, especially the past 20 years. My life has meaning. Don’t worry about me. I feel sorrow that when I was free, I didn’t spend enough time with you. Please tell my relatives not to let my situation affect their lives. I have strong faith in humanity, in righteousness, justice and God. I read, pray, think and do exercise. I am stronger than ever. When they [detaining authorities] inspect my life, they can’t find anything wrong.”

Dr Yang said if authorities were able to find something he was guilty of “they would have already accused me”.

“I will do my best, alongside my lawyer, to fight for my rights and defend my innocence,” Dr Yang said.

He said his detention has made him think about his colleagues and readers, saying he wanted “a chance to serve”.

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“I have devoted my life to my readers. My message to my colleagues and readers is this: Please keep your original heart. The things that I taught you – ideals, dreams. Pursue democracy, the rule of law and freedom,” he wrote.

“I still have some confidence in the court. I think they will give me justice. Whether or not they judge me guilty will say a lot about whether the court is governed by rule of law or by pure absolute power. Please give this letter to my wife, sons and friends, colleagues and readers. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I’m waiting for court.”

Dr Yang was detained in January last year and formally arrested by the Beijing State Security Bureau on August 23 on suspicion of endangering Chinese national security. Chinese authorities have declined to specify the claims against the pro-democracy activist who became an Australian citizen in 2002.

He was formally charged in October with espionage, paving the way for him to face trial later this month or in January. But sources familiar with the case have confirmed the trial has now been postponed by three months, meaning it is likely to be moved to April next year.

The 55-year-old has been isolated in a Beijing prison and allegedly tortured in an attempt to extract a confession on the unspecified claims.

The torture is believed to include severe sleep deprivation, according to sources familiar with the case.



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