Japanese intellectuals are demanding that a Chinese university end the suspension of a professor who criticized the policy of the Chinese leadership.
Xu Zhangrun, a law professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, was suspended in March.
It is believed Xu was suspended because he published an article in July last year that criticized the Chinese leadership for eliminating term limits for the state presidency.
In the article, the professor also said the Chinese Communist Party media's deification of President Xi Jinping has reached a limit.
On Tuesday, academics and other Japanese intellectuals held a news conference in Tokyo to issue a statement demanding the lifting of Xu's suspension.
The statement says the suspension amounts to a suppression of academic freedom and the freedom of speech.
It also says there will be a bright future in China if intellectuals can pluck up courage, like Professor Xu, to speak up for the truth.
The statement has been signed by 70 Japanese scholars and journalists. They are increasingly concerned about freedom of speech being further curtailed under Xi's leadership.
Ken Suzuki, a law professor at Meiji University, said academic freedom is being increasingly restricted in China.
He said he hopes their statement will help to improve the situation.