BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) has set up a task force to follow up on the death of a Confucius Institute representative the university had sent to Webster University in the United States, the university said in a statement on Sunday (Oct 11).
Liu Qiang, a teacher at BLCU's faculty of foreign studies, had been working as a representative of BLCU at Webster University's Confucius Institute since January 2019 in St Louis, Missouri, where he died last Wednesday, the university said.
"We are deeply saddened by the death of Liu and have expressed condolences to his family members," BLCU said, adding that the university was closely monitoring the case and will send people to the US to follow up on it.
The university has urged police in St Louis county to disclose more details about Liu's death and is keeping close contact with China's consulate-general in Chicago and Webster University.
The statement added that the case is under investigation and urged the public to refrain from spreading unsubstantiated information.
According to local newspaper St Louis Post-Dispatch, citing St Louis county police, Liu died after police and the FBI searched his home on Tuesday amid a child pornography investigation.
Webster University said it has no evidence or reason to believe that the reported investigation or Liu's death relates in any way to the Confucius Institute at Webster University or, more generally, to Webster.
Webster officials said in a statement on Saturday that it is saddened by Liu's death and will conduct its own investigation to determine potential evidence of harm.
Liu's sudden death has triggered an outcry on China's social media platforms, with many netizens demanding the St Louis county police release more information about the cause of his death.
The hashtag "A Chinese Confucius Institute representative at a US university has died" has been viewed about 11.5 million times on Sina Weibo as of Monday.