THE Chinese Government needs to offer a convincing explanation for its forceful deportation of dissident Han Dongfang from Guangzhou on Saturday. His expulsion is all the more puzzling because he had been given official approval to leave for the United States nearly a year ago to undergo treatment for tuberculosis, which he claims he contracted while serving a 22-month prison term for subversion following the June 1989 crackdown. It was therefore not unreasonable for Mr Han to expect that he could re-enter the country since he had already served his jail sentence and made it no secret he intended to return. According to mainland public security officers, Mr Han is no longer welcome in China. They have accused him of engaging in subversive activities during his year abroad. However, they fail to specify the nature of offences he is alleged to have committed. It is too early to tell whether Mr Han has become the victim of public security officials who may have become overzealous in the handling of a known dissident or whether they had the sanction of Beijing. China has cause to be annoyed with Mr Han. During his absence he attended human rights con-ferences and even urged Bill Clinton to consider China's la-bour movement when renewing its Most Favoured Nation trading status. If Mr Han is guilty of subversion, then the seriousness of such activities should have warranted arrest rather than deportation. By placing him on trial, he would be given a chance to either clear his name through the correct legal channels or face the consequences of his actions. Instead, his arbitrary deportation will only fortify claims in the West about human rights abuses and the inadequacies of the Chinese legal system. Mr Han's deportation comes at a time when China is working hard to impress the international community about its desire to improve its human rights record. While China says it wants dissidents to return to the mainland, the treatment of Mr Han suggests otherwise. Beijing needs to give a full and proper account for deporting a dissident whose only crime is to want to go home.