BEIJING Aug 1 U.S. public relations firm
Edelman said on Friday it did not know the whereabouts of its
China chief, who has been helping Chinese authorities with an
Two sources with knowledge of the matter said Steven Cao had
not been seen this week at either the Edelman office in Beijing
or that of its subsidiary, Pegasus Public Relations Consulting.
Cao is chief executive of Edelman's China arm and also runs
Cao co-founded Pegasus, along with celebrity news anchor Rui
Chenggang and another partner. Rui was detained in July amid a
broader corruption investigation into state TV network CCTV,
where he hosts a popular financial news programme.
"We have not been in contact with Steven, so we don't have
any further information about Steven's whereabouts," Edelman
said in a statement. Cao was "cooperating with authorities on
the investigation", it said, repeating a comment it made last
week, without elaborating.
Pegasus had also said last week that Cao was cooperating
with authorities on an inquiry, without saying what it was
about. Asked about Cao's whereabouts earlier this week, Pegasus
said it would be "inappropriate to comment further on an ongoing
Chinese authorities visited the Pegasus offices in the
financial district of Beijing on July 24, Pegasus has said.
Security authorities could not be reached for comment.
Edelman acquired Pegasus in 2007. It has said it expected
Rui, who was working at CCTV at the time, to divest his minority
shares right away. But Rui didn't sell his stake to Cao until
three years later, Edelman said.
Pegasus was hired by corporate sponsors involved in
underwriting CCTV's presence at the World Economic Forum in
Davos in 2009 and 2010, Edelman has also said, without
elaborating on who the sponsors were. Rui had moderated panels
at the forum.
The U.S. company, which is co-headquartered in New York and
Chicago, has several offices in China and says on its website it
assists Chinese state-owned enterprises as well as multinational
It is unclear whether Rui is suspected of any crime, and
public security authorities have not made any mention of his
case. Rui has not been reachable for comment.
Rui is known for his nationalistic rhetoric, and is famous
for starting a movement to oust a Starbucks outlet from
Beijing's historic Forbidden City. Starbucks Corp is a
client of Edelman.
Rui is among several employees to be swept up in the
investigation into CCTV.
President Xi Jinping has vowed to take down powerful
"tigers" as well as lowly "flies" in a graft-busting campaign
that has penetrated deep into various sectors and provinces.
The Communist Party earlier this week announced an
investigation into former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang,
by far the highest-profile figure caught up in Xi's corruption
(Editing by Dean Yates)