One of China’s leading experts on Japan has vanished into custody after speaking about the health of reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, a source close to the scholar said on Thursday.
Jin Xide, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and last seen in early January, is believed to be under investigation for “leaking state secrets,” the source said.
“I have seen this report, but I’ve not heard of this incident,” the spokeswomen for China’s Foreign Ministry, Jiang Yu, told reporters on Thursday.
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China’s state secrets law is vague and can be applied to a variety of circumstances.
Jin said publicly in January that Kim Jong-il was ill.
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The North Korean leader is widely believed to have had a stroke or other illness in August last year and his health has been the cause of much speculation in South Korean, Japanese and Western media as well as among analysts.