Taipei, Nov. 1 (CNA) A retired National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) professor who disappeared in China has been sentenced to a three-to-four year prison term on national security charges, a source close to the professor's family told CNA Friday.
Shih Cheng-ping (施正屏), a retired associate professor from NTNU's Graduate Institute of International Human Resource Development, has been missing in China since last August.
In an interview with CNA that day, a source with knowledge of Shih's case said they received word in April that Shih had been sentenced to three to four years, but did not divulge how or from whom the information was received.
The family has kept a low profile regarding Shih's disappearance in order to keep the news from Shih's mother, who is in poor health and has spent long periods in the hospital, the source said.
In a separate report published Friday by the Liberty Times, a friend of the Shih family said that a China-based Taiwanese businessperson received word from Chinese contacts in June or July that Shih's case was related to national security, and that he was being held in Beijing.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) issued a written statement Friday saying that the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) has not received any notification of restrictions placed on Shih's freedom of movement.
Any such restrictions on Taiwan nationals should be immediately reported by the Chinese authorities, the MAC said.
The MAC further stated that based on humanitarian considerations, China should extend visitation rights to Shih's family and guarantee their legal rights and safety while in China.
In response to an inquiry by CNA, NTNU confirmed Friday that Shih served as an associate professor at the university until his retirement in February 2018.
Since his retirement, Shih has not been in close contact with the department or campus, and the university has no information on his post-retirement activities, the NTNU representative said.
According to a biography on the NTNU website, Shih holds a doctorate in Economics from Cornell University, and specializes in econometrics, organizational behavior, project management and strategic management.
Regarding the future direction of Shih's case, the MAC said it is seeking information from the Chinese authorities.
Meanwhile, the Straits Exchange Foundation, a semi-official organization authorized by the government to handle cross-Taiwan Strait affairs, said it will offer assistance to Shih's family if needed.