China stops Australian academic from flying home

According to reports, the professor along with his wife travelled last week to Guangzhou from the Chinese city of Kunming intending to board a flight to Sydney but were stopped from travelling.

Another friend, Professor John Fitzgerald, a Swinburne University academic, said Dr Feng was one of many Chinese scholars in Australia who speak openly and frankly about problems in the relationship.

Feng is a permanent resident of Australia, which means he does not hold an Australian passport.

Feng has been researching Chinese human rights lawyers, many of whom have been detained in recent years.

Feng is staying in a hotel in Guangzhou and does not know when he will be able to return to Sydney, sources told AFP.

'There's no talk of arrest but he does expect to be questioned again'.

Earlier, Chen told AP that police had asked Feng to provide a list of people he met with during his trip, and details of the information they gave him.

It is unclear why Feng has been barred from leaving the country, and he did not discuss his circumstances while speaking to ABC.

"I suspect that this has to do with his investigations into. the situation of human rights lawyers in China, especially the mass detentions that took place since July 2015", Chen said.

His apparent ordeal comes as China's Premier Li Keqiang wraps up an unprecedented five day visit to Australia in which he is promoting closer economic ties between the two countries.

Rights groups and Western governments, including the United States, have urged China to release the activists and lawyers detained in the crackdown, while critics have said the campaign is aimed at silencing opponents of the ruling Communist Party.

"The university is also in contact with the relevant government agencies in the hope that the matter can be resolved as soon as possible", it added.

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. "Although he is now unable to leave China, for reasons we do not yet understand, he nonetheless has freedom of movement in China and freedom of communications", the university told the BBC in a statement.

Xia Ming, political science professor at the College of Staten Island in NY, said he had become friends with Feng after meeting him at a number of global academic conferences.

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