A US-based human rights activist who returned home to visit her family has been expelled from China, a human rights group said yesterday. Li Xiaorong, a research scholar at the University of Maryland and a vice-chairman of the Human Rights in China group, was thrown out last weekend and put on a flight to Hong Kong. Ms Li, who became a US citizen in 1996 and had a valid visa, was detained by police last Friday less than an hour after she arrived at her parents' home in Sichuan province. She was driven to Chengdu and put on a flight to Hong Kong on Saturday morning. Police searched her luggage and ignored her requests to phone the US Consulate, Human Rights in China said. It said the interrogator accused Ms Li of violating Chinese law and said she belonged to a list of people banned from entering China. The Sichuan Public Security Bureau later told the US Embassy in Beijing and its consulate in Chengdu that Ms Li was expelled after 'entering the country to engage in activities against the state', the New York-based group said. It condemned the expulsion saying it was a violation of human rights.