China’s Ambassador to Iceland Allegedly Arrested Skip to content

China’s Ambassador to Iceland Allegedly Arrested

Several Chinese media outlets, including South China Morning Post, reported this morning that Ma Jisheng, who served as China’s ambassador to Iceland from 2012 until the beginning of this year, and his wife, Zhong Yue, have been arrested on suspicion of having leaked information to Japanese authorities.

Former Chinese Ambassador to Iceland Ma Jisheng with Minister of Industry and Commerce Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir.Ma Jisheng with Icelandic Minister of Industry and Commerce Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir. From the Chinese Embassy’s website.

Chinese authorities have yet to confirm the story. Referencing Chinese media, Norwegian national broadcaster NRK’s Asia correspondent Peter Svaar writes that it is unclear when and where the couple were arrested. If found guilty, Ma may face many years of imprisonment or even the death sentence. reported earlier this month that the diplomat couple had mysteriously disappeared from Reykjavík on January 23 and that the Chinese Embassy had refused to reveal their whereabouts.

Press officer of the Icelandic Foreign Ministry Urður Gunnarsdóttir told that the ministry had requested information about Ma’s disappearance and been told by the embassy that he will not return to his post. No other information was released.

Before coming to Iceland, Ma had served on behalf of the Chinese foreign service in other countries, including Japan from 1991 and 1995 and 2004 to 2008.

Svaar points out that this would be the second time since 2007 that a Chinese top diplomat is accused of espionage. In 2007, China’s Ambassador to South Korea Li Bin was sentenced for having leaked information to South Korean authorities.

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