CCTV celebrity anchor Rui Chenggang was detained almost two years ago as part of a corruption probe at the central broadcaster, but he has not been heard from since. A new report from China Business Journal claims that the case against Rui and his colleagues is now moving forward and will be brought to trial. From Global Times:
Rui Chenggang’s case is among 34 corruption-related cases at CCTV, and 29 of them have been assigned to judicial organs in Northeast China’s Jilin Province, Beijing-based weekly newspaper China Business Journal reported Tuesday, citing an anonymous source close to the provincial judicial agencies.
Rui, a popular host of financial and news programs on CCTV, was taken away by prosecutors on July 11, 2014 together with Li Yong, deputy director of the business channel and another unnamed producer, following the detention of Guo Zhenxi, director of CCTV’s business channel, for allegedly receiving bribes in June 2014, news site caixin.com reported.
At least 10 CCTV employees were reportedly involved in corruption that year. [Source]
Kerry Allen at BBC reports on initial responses from web users in China:
National newspaper China Business Journal reminds readers that Mr Rui “disappeared, and not just off the air… along with many [CCTV] staff in an unusually ‘hot’ summer”.
“Rui’s case and others… will soon enter legal proceedings,” it said, in an article that was shared by several prominent web portals.
Thousands of Weibo users read the reports and began rapidly discussing the fate of Mr Rui.
Many expressed surprise at the official explanation for his disappearance.
“It’s hard to accept that he’s been in detention without trial for two years,” said one user. [Source]
Rui was a popular TV host and social media personality who courted controversy with his patriotic views and lofty statements, including a claim that he could represent “all of Asia” while asking a question of President Obama. When he was detained in July 2014, some Chinese netizens responded by expressing disdain for Rui and for his nationalist tendencies.
Rui’s pending trial would come as President Xi Jinping is taking steps to fine-tune Party control over the media. On a recent tour, Xi visited several official media outlets, including CCTV, where he emphasized the need for official media to “speak for the Party.” While at CCTV, foreign journalists noted the presence of a teleprompter, which may not have been intended for public viewing, which read, “CCTV is Party Family; Absolutely Loyal; Please Inspect Us.”
Read more about Rui Chenggang, via CDT.