BEIJING, China – A top business journalist at China’s state broadcaster was taken away by prosecutors, abruptly absent from his nightly newscast he was anchoring, China’s financial news magazine Caixin reported Saturday.
The sudden removal of celebrity journalist Rui Chenggang came less than two months after his boss was detained on suspicion of taking bribes during an ongoing investigation into high-level corruption at China’s biggest state-run network.
Quoting an unnamed insider, Caixin.com said on its website that prosecutors took Rui away directly from the workplace without notifying the news program. Caixin said Rui had been scheduled to appear on the nightly newscast Friday, and his absence was conspicuous, as a second microphone remained on the set. The show is usually anchored by two people.
In May, CCTV’s financial news director Guo Zhenxi was detained. A few months earlier, a former CCTV vice-president also has come under corruption investigation.
Rui has interviewed many world leaders and business magnates and is known for his nationalistic streak. He has more than 10 million followers on his Twitter-like microblog page.
In 2007, he protested the presence of a Starbucks shop at Beijing’s Forbidden City and helped start a grassroots movement that eventually kicked the U.S. brand out of the historic site.
He raised eyebrows in 2009 when he claimed he could represent the entire Asia at a news conference for President Barack Obama.
Rui is believed to be close to Guo. In a 2009 profile of Rui in the New York Times, Guo praised Rui as “our star anchor” and said that his newscast was, for the first time, “examining the health of the nation with a television program.”