Bloomberg News reported early Friday morning that one of its employees was arrested by Chinese authorities under suspicion she participated in activities that "jeopardized national security."
What are the details?
Haze Fan, a Chinese national who works for the news outlet's Beijing bureau, was reportedly last seen being escorted out of her apartment building by plainclothes security officers shortly after 11:30 a.m. Monday local time.
In the days since her disappearance, the news outlet has reportedly been seeking information about Fan's whereabouts and condition from the communist government as well as from the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. But to date, the only response they have received from Chinese authorities is the vague reason for her detainment.
In a statement to the company, Chinese authorities said, "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. Ms. Fan's legitimate rights have been fully ensured and her family has been notified."
A Bloomberg spokesperson said, "We are very concerned for her, and have been actively speaking to Chinese authorities to better understand the situation. We are continuing to do everything we can to support her while we seek more information."
Fan had been working as a news assistant for Bloomberg since 2017, and previously worked for other western news agencies: CNBC, CBS News, Al Jazeera, and Reuters.
Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait speaks about the detention of Haze Fan, who works for the Bloomberg New… https://t.co/K1MJaErRC8— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Bloomberg Quicktake) 1607685246.0
What's the background?
Bloomberg noted that under current Chinese law, citizens of the country can work only as news assistants for foreign news bureaus in China and are barred from doing any independent reporting.
Chinese nationals, like Fan, who work for Western media companies have reportedly been told to "watch their step" of late amid deteriorating conditions in the country for Western media.
In March, Chinese authorities revoked the press credentials of American journalists working for three major U.S. news outlets — the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal — effectively expelling them from the country. The Chinese government claimed the move was a necessary retaliation to a U.S. State Department action a month before, which designated five Chinese state media outlets as "foreign missions."
Beijing-based Bloomberg News anchor Tom Mackenzie called Fan's arrest "deeply disturbing" on Twitter Friday.
"I worked alongside Haze for almost 2 years when she was our China TV Producer. It's no exaggeration to say she is one of the best, most driven and committed journalists out here," he added.