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11 Dec, 2020 11:43

China detains local employee of Bloomberg news bureau in Beijing, starts ‘national security’ probe

Chinese authorities have detained Haze Fan, a local member of staff at the Bloomberg News bureau in Beijing, saying they suspect her of endangering national security.
China detains local employee of Bloomberg news bureau in Beijing, starts ‘national security’ probe

Fan contacted one of her editors around 11:30am local time on Monday, and shortly after, she was seen “being escorted from her apartment building by plain clothes security officials,” Bloomberg said. It has sought information on her whereabouts from the Chinese government and the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC.

On Thursday, Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, received confirmation that Fan is being held on suspicion of participating in activities endangering national security, the company said.

“We are very concerned for her, and have been actively speaking to Chinese authorities to better understand the situation,” a Bloomberg spokesperson said Friday. “We are continuing to do everything we can to support her while we seek more information.”

The American news outlet also quoted a statement from authorities in Beijing claiming “Chinese citizen Ms. Fan has been detained by the Beijing National Security Bureau according to relevant Chinese law on suspicion of engaging in criminal activities that jeopardize national security.”

The case is currently under investigation, they said, adding that “Ms. Fan’s legitimate rights have been fully ensured” while her family “has been notified.”

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Fan has been working for Bloomberg since 2017, previously contributing to Reuters, CBS News, AJE and CNBC.

Chinese nationals can only work as news assistants for foreign news bureaus in the country, Bloomberg explained, saying they are not allowed to do “independent reporting.”

China earlier this year said it would take all necessary measures to protect its journalists in the US, citing Washington’s “political crackdown” on them.

The US slashed the number of Chinese nationals allowed to work at the US offices of Chinese state-owned media in March. Beijing then expelled US journalists working for several American news outlets and introduced visa restrictions. In September, China held off renewing press credentials of journalists at US media outlets including Bloomberg.

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