March 27, 2017
Sydney academic Feng Chongyi posed for a photo at Guangzhou airport on Saturday afternoon, believing he was free to leave China after three days of police questioning.
The photo shows a beaming Professor Feng, from the Chinese studies department at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), flanked by his two lawyers, who wore more cautious expressions.
“He had spoken with the police and was under the impression it was OK to leave China,” says one of his lawyers, Chen Jingxue.
But it was not to be.
Less than an hour after that photo was taken Professor Feng was leaving the airport with his lawyers and heading back into the legal limbo he now finds himself.
On Saturday evening he was stopped from leaving the country by immigration officials for a second time and told only “people will be in contact with you”.
Professor Feng is now living out his own “hotel California” odyssey in China, as he is allowed to move freely around the southern city of Guangzhou, but can’t leave the country.
“The most frightening thing is that there are no clear rules to follow,” said his other lawyer Liu Hao.
His lawyers said Professor Feng met with the State Security Police again on Monday morning and they indicated there was little prospect of him leaving the country in the coming days.