Jin Xide, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Japanese Studies, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for leaking information about North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's health to South Korean and Japanese intelligence agencies, the BBC reported Friday.
Jin (57), who is of ethnic Korean descent, suddenly broke contact during the Lunar New Year's holidays in 2009 and has not been heard from since. Japanese and Hong Kong media reported at the time that he had been arrested by Chinese authorities for leaking state secrets.
Born in the Yanbian region in northeastern China, Jin received his master's degrees from Yanbian University and his PhD in International Politics from Tokyo University in 1994. In 1986, Jin spent a year at the University of Connecticut in the U.S. as a visiting scholar. In 2006, he was appointed deputy director of the Institute of Japanese Studies at CASS and has made numerous comments to the Japanese media about the diplomatic situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula.
Jin was accused of taking bribes from Japanese and South Korean intelligence agencies and leaking information to foreign media that the North Korean leader had become gravely ill and that Chinese doctors had been dispatched to Pyongyang to treat him.
But he steadfastly denied the charges, saying that he was merely engaged in scholarly activities, according to Hong Kong media. News of Jin's arrest in 2009 sent shockwaves throughout the political and academic communities in Beijing, prompting Chinese officials to avoid interviews with the foreign press for some time.