Human Rights in China / Chinese professor at Japan university missing after visiting homeland

Kyodo News - 3/26/2024 10:30:00 AM

Chinese professor at Japan university missing after visiting homeland

A Chinese professor at a western Japan university has gone missing after visiting his homeland last summer, the college said Monday, sparking fears that he has been detained by Chinese authorities.

Hu Shiyun, a professor at Kobe Gakuin University, became unreachable after arriving in China following the end of summer school courses in August last year. Hu's family told the university in late September that they had not heard from him, the school said.

Hu Shiyun. (Photo courtesy of Kobe Gakuin University)(Kyodo)
Earlier this month, the university asked the Chinese Consulate General in Osaka whether Hu is safe in China, but has not yet received a response to its inquiry.

His disappearance has come to light as Beijing strengthens its efforts to safeguard national security, leading to a number of people, including foreign nationals, being detained on suspicion of engaging in spying activities.

Hu was in charge of Chinese language courses at the university's faculty of global communication and formerly headed the section. Substitute teachers have been filling in for the professor since he went missing, according to the university.

In 2013, Zhu Jianrong, a Chinese professor at Toyo Gakuen University in Tokyo, went missing after arriving in his hometown of Shanghai and was reunited with his family in Japan about half a year later. Zhu is believed to have been under investigation for alleged espionage.

In 2019, Yuan Keqin, a Chinese professor at Hokkaido University of Education, was detained in China on suspicion of espionage and was later formally indicted.