Chinese professor ‘stunned’ by Australian decision to cancel his visa

a sign in front of a building: Photograph: Roman Pilipey/EPA

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Roman Pilipey/EPA

A Chinese professor who was stripped of his Australian visa says he was stunned to learn of the cancellation and initially thought the emailed notice from the Department of Home Affairs was spam.

Prof Chen Hong, who has been director of the Australian studies centre at East China Normal University in Shanghai since 2001 and is a frequent visitor to Australia, told the Guardian he “absolutely refused” to accept intelligence agency Asio’s assessment that he posed a direct or indirect risk to security.

“The cancellation of my Australia visa is incredulously stunning and very disappointing to me,” said Chen, who interpreted for Bob Hawke during the former prime minister’s visit to China in 1994.

“In fact, at first I thought the email was a spam fraud letter. Only recently I read it closely and confirmed that it is real.”

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