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07.14.2014 15:58

CCTV Financial News Anchor Rui Chenggang Is Detained

Host of popular financial news programs taken away just before his show aired, leaving an empty microphone on the set
By staff reporter Wang Heyan and intern reporter Xue Jiancong

Li Yong (left), Rui Chenggang (right)


(Beijing) – An anti-corruption drive continues rocking the country's state broadcaster, as a well-known news anchor was detained by prosecutors on July 11.

Rui Chenggang, a popular host of financial news programs on China Central Television (CCTV), was taken away just before his program aired late on July 11, various sources close to the matter said.

Prosecutors also detained Li Yong, vice director of the network's finance and economics channel, CCTV2, and a producer, the sources said.

The detentions came after an anti-corruption investigation was launched into several other TV executives, including Guo Zhenxi, director of CCTV2. Guo was detained on May 31 in Jilin Province by prosecutors.

Li was scheduled to depart on July 11 with a team to Brazil to cover the upcoming BRICS summit on July 14 and 15, but was stopped by prosecutors, a source close to the matter said.

Rui's detention appeared to be sudden. On the evening of July 11, only one anchor appeared on the daily program Economic News, which is usually co-hosted by Rui. A second microphone appeared on the set.

An employee of Economic News said that "the program should be hosted by Rui and his partner, but we lost contact with Rui before the program started. Nobody could find him."

Another CCTV employee said Rui was detained in his office. Calls to Rui's cell phone were not answered.

Various sources said Rui was asked to assist the investigation into Guo.

Rui, 37, is one of the most prominent business journalists in China and known for his interviews with business leaders and politicians around the world. He was awarded the country's top honor for news hosts in 2010.

Rui was in the public eye in 2007 when he led a controversial online campaign to kick Starbucks out of the Forbidden City. He said the U.S. coffee chain's presence was an erosion of Chinese culture, and the shop was later closed.

The 46-year-old Li joined in CCTV in 1993, and was seen by many as a reformist because he has played important roles in several rounds of restructuring and various pilot projects.

CCTV sources said that the National Audit Office found more than 1 million yuan in cash in Li's department last year.

A source close to the matter said there was no conclusion that Li was involved with the money because the audit was still underway and such operations were common at CCTV. He said the current inquiry is not linked to that incident.

A mid-level manager at CCTV said Li and Guo had been at odds.

"Li and Guo are totally different types of person," the source said. "Li doesn't like Guo, and the two haven't gotten along for a long time."

No official information has yet been released regarding the cases involving Li and Rui.

(Rewritten by Han Wei)

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