Chinese police have arrested a top news presenter shortly before a nightly broadcast, state media reported, as part of a campaign authorities say targets corruption.
Rui Chenggang, a popular host of financial news programmes on the state-owned broadcaster CCTV, was taken from his studio on Friday, the ruling Communist Party’s newspaper, the People’s Daily, said on its Twitter account on Saturday night. The network’s vice-director of financial news, Li Yong, was also taken into custody.
The arrestes come 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 corruption and extravagance in China since the appointment last year of president Xi Jinping, who has said widespread corruption 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 saying.
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 branch located in Beijing’s Forbidden City spurred a public outcry that forced the coffee chain to close it.
Rui’s Twitter-like Sina microblog, on which he has more than 10m 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, Global Connection.