Chinese authorities detained a citizen working for Bloomberg news in Beijing on suspicion of endangering national security, in the latest incident to increase pressure on foreign media in China.
Haze Fan was seen escorted from her apartment by plainclothes officials on Monday, the news agency said. His last contact with a Bloomberg colleague that day had been at 11:30 a.m. M. China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed his arrest and the charges on Friday.
“A Chinese citizen, Ms Fan, has been detained by the Beijing National Security Bureau in accordance with relevant Chinese law on suspicion of engaging in criminal activities that endanger national security,” the ministry told Reuters.
“The case is currently under investigation. Ms. Fan’s legitimate rights have been fully guaranteed and her family has been notified. “
Fan, who covered global business, had been with Bloomberg since 2017. Like all Chinese citizens who work for foreign media outlets in China, she was categorized as a news assistant, not a journalist.
Before that, he had also worked for other major international outlets, including Reuters, CNBS, CBS, and Al Jazeera.
Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait described Fan as an “integral and talented part of our newsroom” and said in an interview that the news agency would now “work as hard as possible to help her and her family.” The arrest would not change the way Bloomberg covered news from China, he added.
This year has seen a sharp deterioration in conditions for foreign journalism in China, with arrests and expulsions reducing the press corps.
In August, Australian reporter Cheng Lei, who worked for the Chinese state broadcaster CGTN, was arrested on similar national security charges. In September, Australian authorities helped two other journalists leave the country after being questioned by state security officials.
And more than a dozen journalists working for US media organizations were expelled this year due to deteriorating ties between Beijing and Washington.
China now ranks near the bottom of the world press freedom index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), only ahead of North Korea, Turkmenistan and Eritrea.
“Foreign reporters trying to work in China encounter more and more obstacles in the field. More than 100 journalists and bloggers are currently detained in conditions that pose a threat to their lives, ”the campaign group said in its latest report on conditions in China.
He has called for Fan’s immediate release, describing the national security charges against him as “appalling”. Fan’s arrest was condemned by Tom Tugendhat, a deputy and chairman of the British Parliament’s foreign affairs commission.
“The arrest of another journalist by the Beijing CCP is very concerning,” he said on Twitter. “Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. I hope Haze Fan launches soon. “
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.