Sydney professor stopped from leaving China

Authorities in the southern city of Guangzhou have prevented a top Chinese academic now based at an Australian university from returning home, citing "national security" concerns.

A Sydney university professor has been stopped twice from leaving China.

Feng, who was head of China Studies at UTS for 11 years, is well-known in academic circles for his research into contemporary politics, the growth of rights consciousness and democratic forces in mainland China.

"The relevant departments are still talking with him, arranging to have further "chats" with him", Chen told RFA on Monday.

'They asked him very detailed questions and requested him to undergo a lie detector test, ' Mr Hugh told AAP on Monday.

Human rights advocates, who closely monitor China's freedom of expression, say the case appears to be part of a broader stifling of contrary voices under President Xi Jinping.

Chinese authorities have staged a wide-reaching crackdown on human-rights lawyers across the country since July 2015, accusing such attorneys of being a threat to national security.

A spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry in Beijing said she was not aware of the details of the case, but noted from reports Dr Feng "is a Chinese citizen holding a Chinese passport".




The University of Technology Sydney said Feng had contacted his employer to say that he is "fine", also a common occurrence when dissidents or peaceful activists are held for questioning by police.

Chinese lawyers who had been in contact with Professor Feng said he had been stopped from leaving China by police who had accused him of threatening state security.

It said Feng still enjoys "freedom of movement in China and freedom of communications".

It was the second time in as many days that the prominent Sydney-based academic and China expert had been blocked from boarding a flight, but he said it "wasn't convenient" to say who exactly was detaining him - a common euphemism used in China when people are unable to talk freely.

The Chinese government also censored social media content, he said.

A staff member at a Guangzhou hotel where some friends claimed Dr Feng was being held said his name did not match anyone on its guest list. "But the current Chinese leadership definitely doesn't agree".

Dr Feng has previously spoken publicly about the Chinese government's influence in Australia, and in January told Associated Press that China's ruling Communist Party was "shutting down speech". Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Reported by Wong Lok-to for RFA's Cantonese Service, and by Gao Shan for the Mandarin Service.

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