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China confirms detention of Bloomberg news assistant

December 14, 2020
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BEIJING (AP) — China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed on Monday that an assistant for the financial news service Bloomberg has been detained on suspicion of activities endangering national security.

Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Haze Fan’s case is currently under investigation and that her “legitimate rights and interests have all been fully guaranteed.”

Bloomberg issued a report last week saying Fan had been out of contact since Dec. 7 and that it only received word of her detention after days of asking government departments in Beijing and the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The European Union and the association of foreign reporters in Beijing have issued statements expressing concern over Fan’s detention. Wang said the EU should “earnestly respect China’s judicial sovereignty and stop making irresponsible remarks.”

China only permits Chinese citizens to work as translators, researchers and assistants for foreign news organizations, not as registered journalists with the right to report independently. Chinese media outlets are almost entirely state owned and tightly controlled, and the country has long been one of the leading jailers of journalists.

“As far as I know, Chinese national Fan is suspected of engaging in criminal activities that endanger the national security of China, and has recently been taken under compulsory measures by the Beijing National Security Bureau according to law,” Wang told reporters at a daily briefing.

“The case is currently under investigation in accordance with law,” Wang said.

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