Bloomberg News staffer released on bail in China, authorities say

By Simone McCarthy, CNN

A Chinese national employed by Bloomberg News was released on bail earlier this year after more than a year in detention, according to Chinese authorities.

Haze Fan, a staffer at Bloomberg’s Beijing bureau, was last seen being escorted out of her building in Beijing by “plainclothes security officers” in December 2020 and was suspected of endangering national security, it said. Bloomberg at the time.

A statement from the Chinese Embassy in Washington, dated May 6, came to Bloomberg’s attention over the weekend, a news agency report said on Tuesday. Bloomberg was unable to contact Fan, he said.

China’s state security authority released Fan on bail in January pending trial, the embassy said in its statement. The matter is still under investigation and “Fan’s legitimate rights and interests have been fully protected,” the statement said.

Fan was formally arrested by China’s state security authority last July “on suspicion of committing crimes endangering national security”, according to the embassy.

The embassy included information about her case in a rebuttal letter it said it sent to The Washington Post in response to a newspaper ad marking World Press Day, which included information about Fan. The letter was later posted on the Embassy’s website.

“We are encouraged that Haze is released on bail,” Bloomberg editor John Micklethwait said in the media report on the case on Tuesday. “She is a highly valued member of our Beijing office – and we will continue to do all we can to support her and her family.”

Fan joined Bloomberg in 2017 and previously worked for CNBC, Al Jazeera, CBS and Reuters in Beijing, according to Bloomberg.

Chinese nationals are only allowed to work for foreign news outlets in “auxiliary” roles and must be hired through an agency affiliated with the Foreign Ministry.

Bloomberg did not immediately comment further. The news agency previously requested information on Fan’s whereabouts from the Chinese government and the Chinese Embassy in Washington.

Fan’s case came to international attention shortly after the detention of prominent Australian journalist Cheng Lei, who had been a presenter for English-language state media CGTN before her detention in August 2020.

Cheng was charged with illegally supplying state secrets overseas. His case came to court in March where a verdict was postponed.

Observers have frequently expressed concerns about secret court proceedings and extrajudicial detentions in China.

The country is the world’s worst jailer of journalists, with 50 journalists behind bars, according to a December 2021 report by the New York-based nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists.

In its statement, the Chinese embassy said Fan’s case had “nothing to do with her status as a foreign media employee” and “even less to do with so-called ‘freedom of the press’.” “.

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