Japan Univ.’s Chinese Professor Missing in China

Beijing, April 22 (Jiji Press) — A Chinese professor at Japan’s Asia University has been missing since he made a temporary homecoming last year, it was learned Monday.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi told a news conference in Tokyo that the government is aware of the case involving Fan Yuntao, the missing professor.

Chinse authorities may have detained Fan, 61, people familiar with the matter said.

“The professor has long been teaching at our country’s university, and we are watching this case closely as it could be related to human rights,” Hayashi said. He declined to comment further.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a press conference that he was not aware of the case.

According to the university, Fan temporarily returned to China in February last year and was due to come back to Japan by April in that year, when a new semester started.

Asia University said in a statement that Fan is “currently on leave of absence” and that it “sincerely hopes” he will return to work and “will take necessary measures as appropriate.”

Among similar cases, Chinese professor Hu Shiyun from Japan’s Kobe Gakuin University was found to have gone missing in March after a temporary return to China.

Under the administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who emphasizes national security, China put a revised antiespionage law into force in July last year in a bid to step up its surveillance of foreigners and Chinese nationals with links to foreign countries.