A prominent television presenter at China’s state broadcaster known for his nationalist commentary has been detained, in a sign that the country’s anti-corruption campaign is reaching deeper into the media industry.
Rui Chenggang, host of financial programmes on China Central Television (CCTV), was taken away by prosecutors on Friday, the People’s Daily, the Communist party’s official newspaper, said on its Twitter account on Saturday.
Li Yong, CCTV’s vice-director for financial news, was also detained, according to the newspaper. The detentions follow the arrest last month of CCTV’s advertising director and director-general of its finance and economics channel, Guo Zhenxi, on suspicion of bribery.
An anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping last year has shown no signs of winding down. Mr Xi has vowed to punish both “tigers and flies” – high- and low-level offenders – who are found to be corrupt.
CCTV is a centrepiece of China’s propaganda apparatus and is also at the forefront of Beijing’s efforts to project influence abroad, with programmes in six foreign languages and an English-language channel available in 100 countries.
It has become increasingly aggressive in recent years in criticising big foreign brands. Mr Rui’s detainment came on the day CCTV warned that Apple’s iPhone could track users via its positioning technology, claiming the phones could reveal “state secrets” by passing the data to US intelligence agencies. Apple denied the claims.
Neither CCTV nor the prosecutor’s office could be reached for comment.
“Pay-to-play” is common in China’s news industry, where journalists often receive red envelopes with “transportation money” in return for attending press conferences.
Last year police investigated six public relations companies that collected fees for deleting negative articles and social media posts on behalf of clients, in part by bribing website administrators.
Mr Rui, who is fluent in English and has 10m followers on the Twitter-like microblog service Weibo, has positioned himself as a standard-bearer of China’s political and economic systems for foreign audiences.
He has had one-on-one interviews with Bill Gates, Bill Clinton and George Soros, and former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has described Mr Rui as “an old friend”. A 2009 New York Times profile called him “the media face of Chinese capitalism”.
他曾对比尔?盖茨(Bill Gates)、比尔?克林顿(Bill Clinton)和乔治?索罗斯(George Soros)进行专访，澳大利亚前总理陆克文(Kevin Rudd)曾形容芮成钢是“一个老朋友”。《纽约时报》(New York Times) 2009年的一篇简介文章称他是“中国式资本主义的媒体面孔”。