A Chinese national employed by Bloomberg News was released on bail earlier this year following more than a year in detention, according to Chinese authorities.
Journalist Haze Fan was last seen being escorted from her building in Beijing by “plain clothes security officials” in December 2020 and was held on suspicion of endangering national security, Bloomberg said at the time.
A statement from the Chinese Embassy in Washington, dated May 6, was brought to the attention of Bloomberg News over the weekend, a report from the news agency said on Tuesday. Bloomberg has not been able to contact Fan, it said.
China’s state security authority released Fan on bail in January pending trial, the embassy said in its statement. The case is still under investigation and Fan’s “legitimate rights and interests have been fully protected,” the statement said.
Fan was formally arrested by China’s state security authority last July “on suspicion of committing crimes endangering national security,” according to the embassy.
The embassy included information about her case as part of a rebuttal letter it said it sent to The Washington Post in response to an advert in the paper marking World Press Day, which included information about Fan. The letter was subsequently posted on the embassy’s website.
“We are encouraged that Haze is out on bail,” said John Micklethwait, Bloomberg’s editor in chief, in the outlet’s report on the case Tuesday. “She is a much valued member of our Beijing bureau – and we will continue to do everything possible to help her and her family.”
Fan joined Bloomberg in 2017 and previously worked for CNBC, Al Jazeera, CBS and Reuters in Beijing, according to Bloomberg.
Chinese nationals are only permitted to work for foreign news outlets in “auxiliary” roles and must be hired through a Foreign Ministry-affiliated agency.
Bloomberg did not immediately comment further. The news agency has previously sought information on Fan’s whereabouts from the Chinese government and the Chinese Embassy in Washington.
Fan’s case caught international attention, coming shortly after the detention of high-profile Australian journalist Cheng Lei, who had been an anchor for English-language state media outlet CGTN prior to her detention in August 2020.
Cheng was accused of illegally supplying state secrets overseas. Her case came before the courts in March where a verdict was deferred.
Observers have frequently raised concerns over secretive court processes and extrajudicial detentions in China.
The country is the world’s worst jailer of journalists, with 50 news workers behind bars, according to a December 2021 report from the New York-based nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists.
In its statement, the Chinese Embassy said Fan’s case had “nothing to do with her status as a foreign media employee” and “even less to do with the so-called ‘Press Freedom.’”