BEIJING, July 14 (Xinhua) -- China has strongly urged the U.S. Department of Justice to provide a fair and just trial in the case of the kidnapping of a Chinese scholar, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Friday.
Zhang Yingying, 26, visiting scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), went missing on June 9.
Geng's remarks came after a statement released by U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of Illinois, which said "law enforcement investigating Zhang's disappearance believe Zhang is deceased."
"This determination is based on facts presented in court, court documents, and other facts uncovered during the ongoing investigation," said the statement.
The Chinese government is deeply shocked by the tragedy, Geng said at a routine press briefing.
Stressing that updates on the case will be closely monitored, Geng expressed deepest sympathy to Zhang's family.
The Chinese government highly values the safety and legitimate rights of Chinese citizens overseas, Geng said, noting that the Foreign Ministry, Chinese embassy and consulates in the United States will maintain close communication with U.S. authorities, and will assist in the coordination of the search and investigation into the case.
Brendt Christensen, who was enrolled as a PhD candidate in experimental condensed matter physics by UIUC, was arrested on June 30 and has been indicted with kidnapping Zhang.
Urging the United States to bring the alleged murderer to justice, Geng noted the Chinese government will continue to provide assistance to Zhang's family in the United States.