“His movements inside China aren’t officially restricted, but national security authorities have questioned him a number of times about who he’s met and that kind of thing,” the lawyer added. “They’ve told him that he’ll have to stay around for at least a couple more days to answer their questions.”
Professor Feng has been researching Chinese human rights lawyers, who have been subjected to a withering crackdown and detentions since 2015, and that work may have caught the attention of security investigators, Mr. Chen said.
Mr. Li, the Chinese premier, ended a five-day visit to Australia on Sunday, and it was unclear whether the professor came up during his talks with Australian politicians. But that nation’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it could not demand to see Professor Feng because he is not an Australian citizen.
“The Australian Government is aware that a U.T.S. professor, who is an Australian permanent resident, has been prevented from leaving China,” the department said in an email. Under an agreement with China, the department said, “the Australian government is able to provide consular assistance only to Australian citizens who have entered China on their Australian passport.”
Professor Feng, 56, was born in southern China. His lawyer confirmed he has permanent residence in Australia and was not a citizen. Even so, the case has ignited demands that the Australian government do more to secure his quick release.
“We are urging the Australian government to intervene,” said John Hu, a spokesman in Sydney for the Embracing Australian Values Alliance, which has sought to promote free speech and counter the Chinese government’s influence over the ethnic Chinese…