‘Trying times’: daughter calls for Chongyi Feng’s return from China

Yunsi Feng’s, whose father, Congyi Feng, a UTS Professor, has been prevented from leaving China and returning home to Sydney. 30th March 2017 Photo: Janie Barrett Photo: Janie BarrettHer dad has been barred from leaving China and his future is uncertain but Yunsi Feng is determined to stay strong.

The 24-year-old Sydney lawyer got an unexpected call from her father, UTS associate professor Chongyi Feng, on Friday to let her know he had not been allowed to board a flight out of China.

The story has since made international headlines and there are growing fears for Professor Feng’s welfare.

“These are trying times,” Ms Feng told Fairfax Media.

“But I’m trying to stay calm about the situation and to be there for him. I’ve told him not to worry about anything here in and to just focus on trying to get back home.”

Professor Feng, who has been critical of the Chinese government’s growing influence in , is a permanent resident of but was travelling on a Chinese passport.

Lawyers who are in contact with Dr Feng say he has been questioned by state security officers as a suspected threat to national security.

The n government has raised the case with Chinese authorities and Ms Feng says her “biggest hope” is that keeps up diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue.

“I hope [the n government] recognises the role my father has played in the n community and that is an important issue because of that,” she said.

Ms Feng, who spoke out about the family’s ordeal for the first time on Thursday, said she is mystified why her father has been prevented from leaving China.

“That’s the million-dollar question,” she said.

“I just don’t know how the issue is supposed to be resolved in a circumstance like this ??? I’m just hoping for my dad to call and say “surprise, I’m allowed to go home” but right now it’s a feeling of waiting for something to happen.”

Ms Feng appealed for her father’s quick return to .

Professor Feng, a Chinese studies specialist, has tried to reassure his daughter about his situation during recent phone calls.

“He’s telling me not to worry but I don’t know for sure how things are going over there,” she said.

“The focus for me is to make sure that he knows I’m OK and I’m holding down the fort at home. I want him to be able to focus on his situation and not worry about my wellbeing.”

Professor Feng’s wife, Xiuping Chen, is an n citizen and has been with him in China throughout the ordeal. She will stay as long as possible.

“Right now we are trying to stay positive,” said Yunsi Feng. “We can maintain family communications at least. But there’s always the worry that this becomes drawn out.”

Ms Feng is an n citizen and has lived in suburban Sydney since she was two years old. She said her father had dedicated much of his professional life to building understanding between and China.

“I hope that people see this is a family man, this is someone that has engaged with the n community for two decades, this is someone who has contributed to lot to , especially its understanding of China.

“He’s not just important to me, he’s important to the n community, especially the academic community.”