A Beijing court on Monday handed Australian writer Yang Hengjun a suspended death sentence, threatening a recent rebound in bilateral ties that followed several years of strained relations between Beijing and Canberra.

The sentence, handed down five years after Yang was detained in China and three years after his closed-door trial on espionage charges, shocked his family and supporters.

Yang, a pro-democracy blogger, is an Australian citizen born in China who was working in New York before his arrest at Guangzhou airport in 2019. He had been accused of spying for a country China has not publicly identified and the details of the case against him have not been made public.