Beijing, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The Chinese government on Monday confirmed the arrest of Chinese journalist Haze Fan, an employee of the United States-based media outlet Bloomberg News in Beijing, for allegedly endangering national security.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters that Fan had been arrested by the ministry of state security in Beijing and added that the case was under investigation.
He added that Fan’s legal rights are “guaranteed.’
Wang urged the European Union to respect China’s “judicial sovereignty” after a spokesperson of the bloc demanded the “immediate release” of all journalists arrested in connection with their reporting.
EU spokesperson Nabila Massrali had on Friday urged Chinese authorities to provide Fan with “medical assistance if needed, prompt access to a lawyer of her choice, and contacts with her family.”
Bloomberg reported on Friday that Fan had last not been in contact with her office in Beijing since Dec. 7 and asserted that she had been arrested on suspicion of participating in activities that “endanger national security.”
Fan, a Chinese citizen and a journalist specializing in economic issues, began to work for Bloomberg in 2017 after stints with media outlets such as CNBC, CBS News, Al Jazeera and Reuters.
Her employers highlighted that Chinese citizens are only allowed to work as assistants at distinguished foreign media outlets in the country.
China expelled 17 foreign journalist in the first half of 2020, while around a dozen have been slapped with other punishments, such as being granted accreditations for only for a month instead of the usual annual document.
The Foreign Correspondents Club of China said in its recent report on working conditions that foreign press was facing an increasingly hostile environment in the country, and local employees working for western media had received warnings.
Last week the FCCC expressed “solidarity” with Chinese citizens who carried out “invaluable work” for foreign media outlets in the country. EFE-EPA