Finnish Meteorological Institute employee detained in China

Researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Wang Zhan, was detained in China on suspicion of anti-Chinese activities, the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing human rights activists and reports from Radio Free Asia.

Wang Zhang, a Chinese citizen, was arrested on October 15.

“The published photographs of the detention document state that Wang Zhang was arrested on October 15, at 6 p.m. upon arrival in China, and is currently in the First Detention Center in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province in northeast China,” the statement said.

The scientist is accused of anti-state activities, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

As indicated on the website of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Wang Zhang worked in Finland as a Ph.D. specializing in terrestrial modeling, remote sensing, permafrost and other climate problems. He received his doctorate from Monash University in Australia in 2016. Prior to this, Wang Zhang studied at the Botanical Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Nanjing University. Prior to joining the Finnish Meteorological Institute in February 2019, he worked at Yonsei University in South Korea.

The Chinese authorities did not report the reasons for the arrest.