China says Bloomberg news assistant in Beijing released

Jun 14, 2022, 8:04 AM | Updated: 9:19 am

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese news assistant in Beijing for Bloomberg News has been released on bail, the American financial news service reported Tuesday, citing the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C.

However, Bloomberg said in an online article that it has not been able to contact Haze Fan, who was detained in Beijing in December 2020 on suspicion of endangering national security.

China’s state security authority released Fan in January pending trial, according to a statement on the Chinese Embassy website. Bloomberg said it had been made aware of the statement over the weekend.

The charge of endangering national security is a broadly defined one that can lead to lengthy detention with little recourse to legal assistance.

“We are encouraged that Haze is out on bail,” John Micklethwait, Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief, was quoted as saying. “She is a much valued member of our Beijing bureau and we will continue to do everything possible to help her and her family.”

Fan began working for Bloomberg in 2017 after stints with other foreign news organizations in China.

Her detention followed that in August 2020 of Cheng Lei, an Australian journalist who was born in China and worked for CGTN, the international arm of state broadcaster CCTV. Cheng was tried behind closed doors in March. A verdict has not been announced.

The Committee to Protect Journalists tweeted that Chinese authorities “must immediately drop any pending charges against Fan” and release Cheng Lei.

The Chinese Embassy statement denied that Fan’s case is related to press freedom or her working for foreign media in China.

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China says Bloomberg news assistant in Beijing released