Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

China activist 'in airport limbo'

Chinese activist Feng Zhengdu
Will he stay or will he go? Chinese activist Feng Zhengdu

A prominent Chinese dissident says he has been stuck in limbo at Tokyo airport for nine days because China refuses to let him return home.

Feng Zhenghu is camping on a couch near the immigration checkpoint at Narita International Airport.

He told the AFP news agency the Chinese authorities were violating UN regulations and their own laws.

Rights activists claim the stand-off is reminiscent of the stateless man portrayed in the film The Terminal.

Amnesty International lists Mr Feng as a prominent dissident.

He says he has made eight attempts to re-enter China after a stay of several months in Japan, but was turned back four times at Shanghai's Pudong airport, and prevented from boarding by Japanese airlines on four other occasions.

'His choice'

Mr Feng emigrated to Japan a number of years ago after alleged persecution following his participation in the student movement, but returned in 1999 to set up a consulting firm.

However he was charged with operating an illegal business by the Chinese authorities in 2001 and served a three-year prison term.

A spokesman for the Japanese immigration service at Narita airport said they had never encountered a similar case.

"We have tried to convince him to enter Japan, but it is his choice to stay there," the spokesman told AFP.

Mr Feng says he has not been refunded the cost of the eight aborted attempts to get back to China, and claims this has left him with no money to buy food.

Steven Spielberg's 2004 comedy drama The Terminal tells the story of a man trapped at JFK International Airport in New York - denied entry to the United States, but unable to return home because of a revolution in his native country.

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