The detained Australian writer Yang Hengjun will be tried on charges of espionage in a closed Chinese court next week after being held in Beijing for more than two years.

The foreign minister Marise Payne’s office said the government had been notified by Chinese authorities that Yang would face trial next Thursday, 27 May.

“Despite repeated requests by Australian officials, Chinese authorities have not provided any explanation or evidence for the charges facing Dr Yang,” her office said in a statement on Friday.

Since his detention the 55-year-old blogger has had no access to his family and limited access to his lawyer.

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, has said it was “absolutely untrue” Yang had acted as a spy for Australia and Yang has told his family he was innocent and would “never confess to something I haven’t done”.

Payne’s office said Australia expected Yang to be granted access to his lawyer and Australian consular officials ahead of his trial and that Australian officials be permitted access to his court hearing.

“As a basic standard of justice, access to the trial for observers should be a bare minimum to conform with international norms of transparency.

“We have conveyed to Chinese authorities, in clear terms, the concerns we have about Dr Yang’s treatment and the lack of procedural fairness in how his case has been managed.”

Yang’s trial had been due to start in January but has been delayed by four months.

He faces a lengthy jail sentence if found guilty on charges of endangering national security by joining or accepting a mission from an unidentified espionage organisation.

Yang was detained by Chinese authorities in January 2019 at Guangzhou Airport after arriving from New York.

Australia has consistently lobbied in support of Yang and a second detained Australian, journalist Cheng Lei, who has also been held on suspicion of endangering national security.

Australia’s diplomatic and trade relationship with China has been under considerable strain since last year.

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