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Page last updated at 17:35 GMT, Friday, 12 February 2010

China 'airport limbo' activist allowed into Shanghai

Feng Zhenghu arrives at his apartment in Shanghai, 12 Feb
Feng Zhenghu said returning home made him feel "at peace"

A Chinese dissident who lived at Japan's Narita International Airport for three months after China blocked his return has been allowed to go home.

Rights activist Feng Zhenghu said he was grateful to China, but that he would not give up his campaigning.

Mr Feng left China in April and since June has tried to return home several times but has been denied entry.

He set up camp in the airport last November in protest, living on donated food and blogging about his situation.

A number of Mr Feng's supporters had gathered at Shanghai's Pudong airport to celebrate his return, watched closely by police.

They lost contact with Mr Feng shortly after he landed, but his brother later told the BBC he had left the airport and was heading home.

I will continue to do in the future what I have been doing in the past
Feng Zhenghu

Mr Feng said he now felt "at peace" and that he was relieved the government had "seen the truth".

"I only had one request - to return home, to return to my country, and nothing else," he said, after being reunited with his family at his Beijing home.

"So I must thank the Chinese government for finally being able to see this matter correctly."

Mr Feng said that he had only ever acted lawfully and in the interests of the Chinese people.

"These things should be within the rights of every citizen. So since I am back, I will continue to do in the future what I have been doing in the past."

Social networking

The BBC's Chris Hogg, who was at Pudong airport, said Mr Feng's supporters had hoped to meet the activist at the arrival gate. Some of them were holding signs with his name on.

Airport security staff move Feng Zhenghu's supporters in Shanghai, China (12 Feb 2010)
Supporters' hopes of meeting him at the airport arrivals area were dashed

But when they started giving interviews, police moved in and snatched some of the signs away.

After more than an hour of waiting, his family confirmed he had left the airport by another exit.

Feng Zhenghu was jailed in China for three years in 2001 for operating an illegal business.

He says he has been monitored and harassed by the authorities for his support of Shanghai residents involved in property disputes with the local government.

In protest at China's refusal to allow his return, he camped out at Tokyo's Narita airport for three months.

He survived on food and drinks provided by supporters passing through immigration and used a laptop and mobile phone to highlight his plight via social networking sites.



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