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Sydney academic stopped from leaving China

BBC News logo BBC News 27/03/2017
Chinese studies professor Chongyi Feng: Dr Chongyi Feng has been stopped from leaving China © ABC Dr Chongyi Feng has been stopped from leaving China

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

Dr Chongyi Feng, a Chinese-born academic at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), was halted at Guangzhou airport.

Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan said officials had contacted relatives of Dr Feng, who is an Australian permanent resident but not a citizen.

It comes as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang concluded a five-day Australian visit.

China's Premier Li Keqiang and Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney: Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attend an Australian Rules football match on Saturday © Getty Images Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attend an Australian Rules football match on Saturday

The Australian Broadcasting Corp reported Dr Feng was stopped from boarding flights in Guangzhou on Friday and Saturday.

"UTS has been in regular contact Dr Feng, who has assured the university that he is fine," the university told the BBC in a statement.

"Although he is currently unable to leave China, for reasons we do not yet understand, he nonetheless has freedom of movement in China and freedom of communications."

Australian officials said they could not provide consular assistance because Dr Feng did not enter China on an Australian passport.

However, Mr Keenan said he would raise the matter with China.

"We'll continue to monitor the situation and remain in contact with Chinese authorities about it," he told reporters in Perth.

Reuters reported Dr Feng had been questioned over whether he had links to liberal intellectuals in China.

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