FILE PHOTO: The Chinese national flag is seen in Beijing, China April 29, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
December 12, 2020
By Yew Lun Tian and Tony Munroe
BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese authorities have detained a Chinese national working for the Bloomberg News bureau in Beijing on suspicion of endangering national security, the news agency and China’s foreign ministry said on Friday.
According to a Bloomberg report, Haze Fan was seen being escorted from her apartment building by plain-clothes security officials on Monday, shortly after she had been in contact with one of her editors.
“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 Chinese foreign ministry said in response to a Reuters query.
“The case is currently under investigation. Ms. Fan’s legitimate rights have been fully ensured and her family has been notified,” the ministry said.
The Beijing National Security Bureau could not immediately be reached for comment.
“We are very concerned for her, and have been actively speaking to Chinese authorities to better understand the situation,” a spokeswoman for New York-based Bloomberg said in an emailed statement to Reuters. “We are continuing to do everything we can to support her while we seek more information.”
Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait and other senior editors told China-based staff that Chinese authorities had said Fan had not been detained in relation to her work, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.
Fan has been at Bloomberg since 2017 and previously worked for Reuters, as well as for CNBC, Al Jazeera and CBS News, according to her LinkedIn profile.
China has expelled more than a dozen foreign journalists at U.S. media organizations this year by cancelling their press credentials as its relations with Washington have worsened.
In August, authorities in Beijing detained Cheng Lei, a China-born Australian citizen working for the Chinese state-run broadcaster CGTN, on suspicion of activities that endangered national security.
In September, the Australian government helped two Australian foreign correspondents to leave China after they were questioned by China’s state security ministry.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) in Beijing said it was very concerned to learn of Fan’s detention, and seeking clarity on why she had been detained.
(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian and Tony Munroe; additional reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Kevin Liffey)