A CHINESE lecturer from the University of California was recently denied entry into mainland China on the grounds that she had criticised the Chinese leadership, writes Vera Rich.
Gong Xiaoxia, who has been a United States resident since 1997, was stopped at the Shekou crossing point from Hong Kong by guards who told her that her name was on the computer check.
After several hours she was told she must return to Hong Kong "on instructions from above". The guard then suggested that if she complied with the order without fuss he would take her to dinner.
Ms Gong claims she is not a pro-democracy activist nor has she attacked Communist Party leaders in articles published in Hong Kong. She has, however, "focussed on criticising autocracy, including China's system, from a democratic point of view".
She had visited her native town of Guangzhou last year with no problems and the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles had given her a new Chinese passport and approved her proposed visit for which she had academic funding.
She said she would continue to write articles in defence of freedom of speech.