Scholars urge China to let academic return to Australia

Dozens of scholars in Australia, the U.S., Britain and Hong Kong are urging Beijing to free a Sydney-based academic, warning that its refusal to allow him to return home is raising concerns about the risks of conducting research in China.

Organizers of an open letter to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang say about 70 scholars have signed it so far, and it will be sent next week when the total reaches about 100.

It calls for authorities to allow Feng Chongyi of the University of Technology Sydney to return to Australia. He was prevented from doing so last week on suspicion of endangering national security.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday that Chinese law enforcement authorities prevented Feng "from going abroad in accordance with the law."