Too Correct to be Turned Back

Feng Zhenghu (冯正虎) was born in 1954, July 1, in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province. He is reportedly one of the signatories to the Charter 08 (零八宪章). In June 2009, after a stay in Japan for medical treatment, he was refused re-entry into China and lived at Narita International Airport, Chibu, Japan from November until yesterday or today, camping out there in protest. He survived on food and drinks provided by supporters passing through immigration and used a laptop and mobile phone to make his situation public via social networking sites.

Feng’s lawyer, Mo Shaoping, said last year that Feng had filed a lawsuit against the border control authorities in Shanghai’s Pudong airport, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA). “I know people in the past suing the government for not allowing them to go abroad, but never heard of any lawsuit for the right to return. As far as I know, no such case has been filed before”, Mo said. RFA also quotes other dissidents saying that they had been turned back last year.

Feng reportedly made eight attempts to get back into China. It was after his eighth attempt that he decided to stay in the airport’s no man’s land, without legally re-entering Japan.

In an interview on February 1 (published on Febr 2), he told the Voice of Germany (Deutsche Welle) in a telephone interview that the week before, staff from the Chinese embassy in Tokyo had come to see him at the airport three times. As the Chinese government didn’t say that he couldn’t return to China, he guessed from those events that he wouldn’t be barred again.

At the first visit, he was told that the embassy employees came on the behalf of the Chinese government and came to care about his health and his situation. They also told him that they had come to help solving the problems in returning home.

Actually, it’s a long way from the Chinese embassy to the airport. It’s two hourse, one-way, but they came here three times. From what was said in our conversation, I believe that my return won’t be barred this time. So I decided to go back into Japan [from the airport’s no-man’s-land] to get the formalities done.

Feng arrived back in China today or yesterday.

“I only had one request – to return home, to return to my country, and nothing else,” the BBC quoted him, after his return to his people  in Beijing. “So I must thank the Chinese government for finally being able to see this matter correctly.”

If Zhenghu is the Chinese word for “Correct Tiger”, the correct tiger has returned to his native land just a few days before the new year of the tiger.

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