Tag Archives: Australia

China/Australia: ‘My country, my people’

June 2, 2017

“It was a very serious interrogation.” Detained by Chinese agents on his way home to Australia in April, activist Dr Chongyi Feng might have faced imprisonment. Instead, safely back with his family, the former Communist Youth League member is speaking out for those who want reform in China – and want it soon.

“It’s over,” thought the compact, bespectacled man as he approached the final departure barrier at Guangzhou airport. His academic mission had been a success, the interviews conducted during the month’s field trip providing valuable new material. Dr Chongyi Feng’s subject, which had preoccupied him for two years, was human rights lawyers and their role in the new China.

A Chinese citizen, well-connected in the Chinese Communist Party of which he remained a member, Chongyi Feng was flying back to academic life in Sydney after another return visit to his homeland. It was a journey he had made nearly every other year since 1993 when he and his family migrated to Australia, where the chirpy professor was now a permanent resident, and his wife and daughter citizens.

What Feng had not expected on this March trip was that he himself would be subjected to hours of interviews over ten days by agents of Chinese state security. They had followed him after a first round of interrogation in the southern city of Kunming and announced their intention to continue questioning the China specialist after Feng’s trip took him eastwards to Guangzhou. The operatives resumed their task, ranging widely across a variety of subjects – some of which, the 56-year-old assistant professor at the University of Technology in Sydney admits, surprised him.

Now, as Feng walked through the airport, he believed all of that was behind him. Which is when he was stopped, to be told he was going nowhere. In fact, Feng was blocked from boarding Australia-bound flights on two occasions until, on April 1, after considerable international media attention to his unfortunate circumstances, he was permitted to return home. It was the first time in Feng’s history of travel between his adopted Australian home and the country in which he was born that an attempt had been made to restrict his exit.




China/Australia: Lest our politicians forget … China is still a communist state

April 11, 2017

It is now clear that the strife still unfolding between Australia and China has its origins in Beijing’s nationwide campaign to shut down lawyers who take on human rights cases.

The impact of the co-ordinated arrests almost two years ago of 286 lawyers and their colleagues, followed by their jailing for up to 12 years for “state subversion”, continues to send waves throughout China and the region.

These law firms represented cases ranging from farmers whose land was stolen by local officials to writers prosecuted for criticising long-dead communist “heroes”.

A few months before the arrests, President Xi Jinping said on the role of law that the Communist Party must ensure “the handle of the knife is firmly in the hands of the party and the people”.

People who feel cheated or downtrodden must not get their hands on that handle. In recent years, lawyers, often acting pro bono, had begun to articulate such grievances, finding ways to challenge the authorities in the courts. This connection is now decisively being cut.

Six weeks ago, Australia’s ambassador to Beijing, Jan Adams, and envoys from 10 other countries, including Britain, France, Japan, Canada and Switzerland, signed a letter urging Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun to investigate reports that such lawyers are being tortured. The ambassadors called for an end to the government’s lengthy detention of people suspected of “political” crimes at secret locations.

The whereabouts of some of those seized in mid-2015 are still unknown.


China/Australia: China ‘abruptly cancels’ Australian delegation’s planned visit after human rights criticism

April 5, 2017

ABC News

A delegation of federal politicians’ planned visit to China has been abruptly cancelled after Beijing took offence at a human rights petition signed by Australia.

The letter from 11 nations — including Canada, Japan and Switzerland — reportedly urged China to investigate disturbing reports of torture against human rights lawyers.

It is believed the joint letter was sent last month from the diplomatic missions in China of the signatory countries, and reportedly expressed “growing concern over recent claims of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in cases concerning detained human rights lawyers and other human rights defenders”.

The letter was meant to remain private but was leaked to the media.

Some members of Federal Parliament’s Law Enforcement Committee had been due to fly to China yesterday for a week-long visit to examine what the country is doing to stop the import and export of methamphetamines, known commonly as ‘ice’.

Sources have told ABC News the parliamentary delegation’s planned visit was “abruptly cancelled” about two weeks ago — shortly after the joint letter on human rights concerns was received by the Chinese Government.










China/Australia: Bob Carr’s backroom manouevering ends Chinese nightmare for Sydney academic

April 3, 2017

Sydney professor Feng Chongyi has arrived back at Sydney Airport, Australia after being detained in China for a week and interrogated by authorities. SUPPLIED: ABC NEWS.

FORMER Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s public silence on the fate of a Sydney academic held by the Chinese might have baffled some.

He was in China, had plenty of opportunity to pump up Australian outrage, and could have done it face-to-face with the Chinese leadership.

But the former NSW premier had taken the advice of a Chinese official on how to deal with the case of detained University of Technology Sydney professor Chongyi Feng, who was released from Chinese custody yesterday.

Professor Feng, a teacher in Chinese studies, had been blocked from returning to Sydney twice and was interrogated for more than a week for “endangering state security”.

As the Chinese official put it, back room inquiries might help, but “the microphone way” would only worsen Mr Feng’s plight.

Further, other sources suggested Mr Feng’s detention had not been authorised at the top levels and the Chinese government wanted the issue settled in the national interest.


















http://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-39470592?utm_source=HRIC+Updates&utm_campaign=33f73dd36b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_04_03&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b537d30fde-33f73dd36b-259223637 (CHINESE)

http://www.epochtimes.com.tw/n205572/%E5%9C%A8%E8%8F%AF%E9%81%AD%E6%89%A3%E7%B5%82%E8%BF%94%E6%BE%B3-%E9%A6%AE%E5%B4%87%E7%BE%A9%E6%95%99%E6%8E%88-%E4%B8%AD%E5%85%B1%E5%B1%88%E6%9C%8D%E4%BA%86.html (CHINESE)

China/Australia: Dr Feng Chongyi returns to Australia

April 1, 2017

Image result for feng chongyi uts

Patrick Poon

35 mins ·

China/Australia: Australia Debates Extradition Treaty as Academics Protest Professor’s Travel Ban

March 31, 2017

Last weekend, Sydney-based professor Feng Chongyi was repeatedly prevented from boarding flights from China back to Australia. Feng, a Chinese citizen and Australian permanent resident, has vocally criticized China’s expanding influence in Australia, and was in China conducting research on its ongoing crackdown on rights lawyers. Though not detained, he has repeatedly been questioned and told that he was suspected of threatening state security. On Thursday, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson confirmed to reporters that “in order to safeguard China’s national security, the relevant departments took measures in accordance with law against Chinese citizen to prevent him from leaving the country.” The remarks did not appear in the official press conference transcript.

Also on Thursday, Feng’s daughter in Sydney begged the Australian public and academics not to “let this issue go away,” expressing fear “that this will be drawn out and we don’t get an indication of when he can come home.” (The daughter of detained Hong Kong publisher Gui Minhai has expressed solidarity on Twitter.) More than 80 scholars from Australia and around the world have responded to Feng’s situation with an open letter to the Chinese leadership:

Dear President Xi and Prime Minister Li,

We the undersigned are members of the global China Studies community. We are deeply concerned by the travel restrictions recently placed upon Professor Feng Chongyi of the University of Technology Sydney, which have prevented him from departing the People’s Republic of China and returning to his workplace and family in Sydney since last week.

Professor Feng is an internationally respected scholar of intellectual and political developments in modern and contemporary China. He is the author of a number of groundbreaking books, and a frequent commentator on issues of importance in the Australian media. He is, furthermore, a vital contributor to the global China Studies community, and his presence in Australia has significantly enhanced its learning and research environments in Chinese Studies.

We are disturbed that a fellow researcher, who has dedicated himself to promote the understanding of and interest in China, has been prevented from returning to his home and workplace for no reason other than his conscientious work as a China Studies scholar. Such actions make it difficult for the rest of us to be confident in the research environment in China today, and do not contribute positively to the continued construction of open and productive higher education collaboration between China and the rest of the world.

In light of China’s commitment to expanding international scholarly engagements, we respectfully request that Professor Feng be released and permitted to return to his workplace and home in Sydney. [Source]



China/Australia: Scholars urge China to let academic return to Australia

March 30, 2017

Image result for feng chongyi uts

Dozens of scholars in Australia, the U.S., Britain and Hong Kong are urging Beijing to let a Sydney-based academic return home, warning that continued barring of his departure is raising concerns about the risks of conducting research in China.

Organizers of an open letter to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang say more than 80 scholars have signed it so far, and it will be sent next week after the number of signatories is expected to exceed 100.

It calls for authorities to allow Feng Chongyi, an associate professor at the University of Technology Sydney, to return to Australia after he was preventing from doing so last week on suspicion of endangering national security.

Feng is a Chinese citizen and permanent resident of Australia, according to his lawyer. His case was cited earlier this week by politicians in Australia whose opposition over human rights concerns prompted the government to abandon efforts to seek ratification of an extradition treaty with China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday that Chinese law enforcement authorities “while performing duties of safeguarding national security” prevented Feng going abroad.

“Feng Chongyi, as a Chinese citizen, is obliged to cooperate with the relevant investigation by Chinese authorities,” Lu told reporters.

Feng had been wrapping up a three-week trip researching human rights lawyers. Since July 2015, authorities have questioned or detained hundreds of activists and independent legal professionals as part of a crackdown on civil society under President Xi. Some of the lawyers have been labeled threats to national security.






















http://www.voachinese.com/a/australian-professor-barred-from-leaving-china/3788511.html?utm_source=HRIC+Updates&utm_campaign=91e04db20d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_03_31&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b537d30fde-91e04db20d-259223637 (CHINESE: Dr Feng Chongyi has been questioned by state security officers every day)

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