BEIJING, July 13 Prosecutors detained a top
Chinese news anchor shortly before a nightly broadcast, state
media reported, as authorities extend anti-corruption efforts
deeper into the country's media industry.
Rui Chenggang, the popular host of financial news programs
on China Central Television (CCTV), was taken away from his
studio on Friday, ruling Communist Party mouthpiece the People's
Daily said on its Twitter account on Saturday night.
Rui's detention, along with the network's vice director of
financial news Li Yong, comes a little more than a month after
officials announced an investigation into suspected bribery by
his boss, CCTV's advertising director and director-general of
its finance and economics channel Guo Zhenxi.
The government has cracked down on official corruption and
extravagance in China since the appointment last year of
President Xi Jinping, who has said widespread graft threatens
the Party's survival.
An indication of the suddenness of Rui's detention, a second
microphone appeared on the set of Friday night's "Economic News"
broadcast, though it was anchored only by Rui's co-host,
reported the financial news site Caixin.com.
"Rui Chenggang was directly taken away from CCTV by
authorities last night (Friday) and no notice was given at the
time to the programme," Caixin cited an unnamed CCTV employee as
Rui, 36, is one of China's most prominent business
journalists, whose strongly nationalist stances and
controversial remarks have helped make him a celebrity.
His prominence in China grew in 2007, after his comments on
a Starbucks located in Beijing's ancient Forbidden City helped
spur a public outcry that led the coffee chain to close the
Rui's Twitter-like Sina microblog, on which he has more than
10 million followers, was still accessible on Sunday and some
CCTV web pages still contained his biographical details. He was
still listed as the host on the website of his second show,
CCTV could not be immediately reached for comment.
The network is viewed by the government as an enormously
influential and useful propaganda tool abroad, and at home where
Beijing keeps a tight rein on domestic media.
CCTV has also come under criticism in recent years for some
poorly conceived or sourced programmes and
Critics have long pointed to corruption within the ranks at
state media, arguing blackmail is widespread and that
journalists are susceptible to bribery.
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Michael Perry)