China Detains Bloomberg Journalist on Suspicion of Endangering ‘National Security’

Haze Fan, a Bloomberg News staffer in Beijing, had not been heard from since Monday.
December 11, 2020, 12:35pm
Beijing; National Security Law; press freedom; Ch
A paramilitary police officer in Beijing.  File Photo: FREDERIC BROWN / AFP

A journalist working for Bloomberg News in Beijing has been detained on suspicion of endangering national security, authorities in the Chinese capital said.

Bloomberg confirmed the disappearance of the employee, Haze Fan, in a breaking news article. A spokesperson said that Fan had last been in contact with an editor on Monday morning and was seen being escorted from her apartment building by plainclothes police officers. 

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“We are very concerned for her and have been actively speaking to Chinese authorities to better understand the situation,” a Bloomberg spokesperson said. 

In a statement quoted by Bloomberg, Chinese authorities said that Fan was detained “on suspicion of engaging in criminal activities that jeopardize national security,” adding that the case was under investigation. 

“Ms. Fan’s legitimate rights have been fully ensured and her family has been notified.” 

Bloomberg said it has sought information on Fan’s whereabouts from the Chinese government as well as the Chinese embassy in Washington. 

“We are continuing to do everything we can to support her while we seek more information,” the spokesperson said.

Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief John Micklethwait addressed Fan’s detention in a broadcast interview.

“Haze is a very talented and respected person in our newsroom,” he said.

“We are deeply concerned for her well-being and are doing everything we can to try and get her back.”

“What happens next is not entirely clear but we will do everything possible to help her and her family. We have broken a lot of news in China and intend to continue covering it in the exact same way as we have done before.”

China does not allow its citizens to work as journalists for foreign media organizations in the country.

Fan, a Chinese national, worked at several international media outlets before she joined the American organization in 2017 as a news assistant.

It is unclear whether Fan’s detention related to her work for Bloomberg News. 

China ranks 177th out of 180 regions tracked by Reporters Without Borders in terms of press freedom.

Foreign journalists in the country are routinely denied work visas for critical reporting on the Chinese government, and reporters are regularly prevented from doing their jobs by state security agents.

Australian journalist Cheng Lei, who works for the CGTN state broadcaster, was detained in August also on national security grounds.