Is China’s Ambassador to Iceland Missing Because He Spied for Japan?

Chinese Ambassador to Iceland Ma Jisheng, Sept. 30, 2013 (photo: Embassy of China)

Chinese Ambassador to Iceland Ma Jisheng, Sept. 30, 2013

From Reuters:  China’s Foreign Ministry refused to say on Wednesday where its ambassador to Iceland was or who was even representing Beijing in the country, following reports he had been arrested by state security for passing secrets to Japan.

New York-based Chinese language portal Mingjing News reported on Tuesday that China’s envoy to Iceland, Ma Jisheng, and his wife had been taken away by Chinese state security earlier this year.

It said Ma was suspected of having become a Japanese spy while working in the Chinese embassy in Tokyo between 2004 and 2008.

The story was then picked up by Hong Kong’s Ming Pao newspaper and subsequently carried by some mainland Chinese news sites, though many of those stories were later deleted.

Asked whether the reports were true, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, “I have no information on this. . . .”

A spokeswoman for Iceland’s foreign ministry, Urdur Gunnarsdóttir, said an announcement from the Chinese embassy in Reykjavik in May had stated Ma would not return to his post for personal reasons.

There has been a caretaker ambassador since then, Gunnarsdóttir said, adding that Ma left Iceland in January and was to have returned in March.

From Kyodo News International:  Chinese Ambassador to Iceland Ma Jisheng and his wife Zhong Yue were arrested early this year by Chinese authorities for allegedly spying for Japan, Hong Kong media reported Wednesday.

“According to a Chinese official, the Chinese ambassador and his wife were accused of spying for Japan, and were arrested by China’s national security authorities in early 2014,” the Chinese-language Ming Pao Daily reported, citing the U.S.-based Mingjingnews.