March 27, 2017
Authorities in the southern city of Guangzhou have prevented a top Chinese academic currently based at an Australian university from returning home, citing “national security” concerns.
University of Technology Sydney associate professor Feng Chongyi was stopped from boarding his flight from China to Australia on Friday and Saturday, the Associated Press quoted Feng’s lawyer, Chen Jinxue, as saying.
Feng, a permanent resident of Australia, had been on a three-week research trip examining a recent crackdown on human rights by President Xi Jinping.
Chen said the travel ban on Feng, who remains a Chinese national, could be linked to his investigation of a nationwide police operation targeting human rights lawyers, law firms and activists that began in July 2015.
He said Feng is still being questioned by state security police at his hotel in Guangzhou.
“The relevant departments are still talking with him, arranging to have further ‘chats’ with him,” Chen told RFA on Monday. “This started yesterday and went on for two or three hours, and this morning they talked again for more than two hours.”
He said police had declined to give a specific instance of Feng’s having “endangered state security,” adding that Feng hasn’t been formally detained or arrested so far.
Earlier, Chen told AP that police had asked Feng to provide a list of people he met with during his trip, and details of the information they gave him.
But speaking to RFA, he said Feng was “not authorized to discuss” the interviews with anyone else.
He said it was still unclear if or when Feng would be allowed to leave China.