Sydney academic Feng Chongyi, whose detention in Guangzhou created international headlines, warns that his experience is designed to intimidate academics researching topics deemed sensitive by Beijing. He describes heightened surveillance by China's state security apparatus and increasing curbs on his research into human rights lawyers. Feng, who is still a Chinese citizen and Communist Party member, attributes his release to the fortuitous timing of Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Australia, combined with media attention and a high-profile campaign. He firmly rejects the notion that backroom negotiations were instrumental in securing his release. Feng is issuing a warning that China's influence risks influencing academic and press freedom in Australia.