Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The Australian government is investigating a claim that one of its citizens may have been detained by China.
Yang Heungjun, a former Chinese diplomat, novelist and outspoken critic of the Beijing government, has not been heard from since Jan. 19, when he was supposed to arrive in Shanghai from Guangzhou, the Guardian reported. He was traveling with his wife and children.
Friends are worried he may have been detained by China on security charges, the Washington Post reported.
Yang's possible detention follows China having separately detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in December on national security charges, in what is seen as retaliation against Canada for it having arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou.
Wanzhou is facing extradition to the U.S. on suspicion of violating trade sanctions against Iran.
Two friends of Yang told The Washington Post Yang's wife told them she was questioned in Guangzhou and Yang has been detained. Before she also fell out of contact, she sent friends a picture of the Beijing airport without any explanation, singling she'd arrived in the Chinese capital.
"My judgement is this is linked directly to the Huawei case," Feng, a friend of Yang's, told the Post.
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the Guardian it sought information on a citizen missing in China.