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Cablegate: Forty Three Days at the Airport and Counting

VZCZCXRO6054
OO RUEHAT RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHFK RUEHGH RUEHHM RUEHKSO RUEHNAG
RUEHPB RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHVC
DE RUEHKO #2862 3490445
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 150445Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8211
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZU/ASIAN PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION PRIORITY
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZJ/HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 2300
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 7924
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA PRIORITY 5058
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 0275
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 1736
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 8430
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI PRIORITY 0646
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/JUSTICE DEPT WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS TOKYO 002862

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM JA
SUBJECT: FORTY THREE DAYS AT THE AIRPORT AND COUNTING

REF: TOKYO 1501

1. (U) Terminal One in Tokyo's Narita has become the world
headquarters of Chinese economist, scholar, freelance
journalist and human rights and anti-corruption activist
Zhenghu Feng's battle to be allowed to return to China. In a
waiting area immediately before immigration, camped out on
some chairs surrounded by protest signs and literature, Feng
recently met with PolOff for the third time to provide an
update on his ordeal. "This is my war," Feng said.

2. (U) Feng, the first Shanghai signatory of Charter 08, a
manifesto calling for political reform and democratization,
has tried to return to Shanghai eight times. The first time
was July 7, the last time was November 3. Each time, he is
either not allowed to board the plane, or, if allowed he is
detained in Shanghai, and then put on the next plane back to
Japan. Each time he has made it as far as Shanghai, the
immigration authorities tell him, "Mr. Feng, we are sorry,
but we have orders from above not to allow you back in the
country." As Feng puts it, "They never tell me why. I have
never broken any laws, and there is nothing in the Chinese
constitution, or Chinese law, which allows them to do this."
On his most recent attempt, he decided he would resist
attempts by the Chinese authorities to put him on the next
plane back to Tokyo. "I feel bad that I delayed the plane's
departure for about an hour. It took about half a dozen men
to carry me onto the plane. Finally, a Chinese employee of
JAL sat on me in my seat on the plane to give the cabin crew
time to close the door. Afterwards he apologized to me
saying, 'Sorry Mr. Feng, I was just doing my job.'"

3. (U) Returning to Narita, Feng said that he could not bring
himself to go through immigration, and re-enter a foreign
country. This is where he would make his stand, on these
plastic chairs, in this perpetually-lit international
no-man's land. For the first four days he survived on water
and vending machine food brought by Narita employees.
Gradually as word of his plight spread, a steady stream of
visitors from all over the world, but especially Hong Kong
and China, brought him blankets, and food, and encouragement
to go on. "I am becoming a little bit famous for Chinese who
believe in human rights and the rule of law. Some people say
I am like the man in Tiananmen who stood in front of the
tank. But I don't want them to make me some kind of 'Goddess
of Liberty' I am much too funny-looking for that!'"

4. (U) Feng's story is being widely covered in the
international press. He also has a twitter site:
http://twitter.com/fzhenghu and a blogsite: http://fzh999.net
He says that although the sites are now blocked in China,
people are somehow finding ways to access them, and most of
his support on-line comes from Chinese citizens. Showing
PolOff his interview schedule for the next two weeks, he
said, "You know at first I felt a little cold, and hungry and
lonely. And now I feel like the world is coming to me."
UNHCR also sent out a representative offering to help Feng
claim asylum but he turned them down politely saying, "I have
a home and a country, why do I need asylum?" Everyday he
says, Japanese immigration officials at the airport send
someone to talk with him to try and persuade him to come
across to the other side of the immigration booths. "I
always tell them, 'that is where I am going,'" and he gives a
big smile as his eyes crinkle and he points with his finger
in the opposite direction.
ROOS

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