Politics & Protest SinoBeat

Chinese-born prof. Feng Chongyi back home in Australia after China blocked his return

An Australian-based Chinese professor who has been critical of Beijing flew back to Sydney Sunday, a week after he was blocked from leaving China at the end of a visit.

Feng Chongyi.

Feng Chongyi. Photo: ABC News screenshot.

Feng Chongyi, a permanent resident of Australia who has a Chinese passport, had been barred from flying out of the southern city of Guangzhou and was questioned by authorities.

His lawyer said at the time he was “suspected of harming national security and could not leave China”.

Lawyers, activists and academics in China are often accused of being in cahoots with foreign organisations trying to undermine national security and stir up opposition to the communist government.

Feng, who teaches at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), said it was “still a mystery to me” why he had not been allowed to depart China.

He was the head of Chinese Studies at UTS for 11 years and conducted research into China’s pro-democracy groups.

Feng Chongyi

Feng Chongyi. Photo: RFA.

More recently the former newspaper publisher has criticised Beijing’s influence on Australia’s Chinese-language media outlets.

“They (authorities) said that I was requested to assist some sort of investigation,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday.

“(But) because the conversation passed so many topics I could not figure what exactly triggered that action for them,” he added.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that as a condition of his departure, Feng was required to sign a document promising not to detail his questioning by authorities or where it took place.

Feng was welcomed home at Sydney Airport on Sunday morning by supporters. His return was also hailed by the Australian government and UTS.

“The University of Technology Sydney is very pleased that the matter with Associate Professor Chongyi Feng has been resolved,” the tertiary body said in a statement.

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Chinese-born prof. Feng Chongyi back home in Australia after China blocked his return