EU urges China to allow detained Bloomberg News employee legal access

China has confirmed that Ms Haze Fan was detained by the Beijing National Security Bureau. PHOTO: HAZE FAN/TWITTER

BRUSSELS (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - The European Union called on Chinese authorities to allow a Bloomberg News employee who was detained last week in Beijing to have access to a lawyer, medical care and contact with her family.

China has confirmed that Ms Haze Fan, a Chinese citizen who has worked with Bloomberg News since 2017, was detained by the Beijing National Security Bureau on suspicion of endangering national security. She was seen escorted from her apartment building by plain clothes security officials on Dec 7.

"We expect the Chinese authorities to grant her medical assistance if needed, prompt access to a lawyer of her choice, and contacts with her family," the EU said on Saturday (Dec 12) night in Brussels.

Ms Fan's family was informed of her detainment within 24 hours.

The EU also expressed concern about other Chinese journalists and citizens who have disappeared this year, including for reporting on the Covid-19 outbreak.

"All those arrested and detained in connection with their reporting activity should be immediately released," according to the statement.

In a statement to Bloomberg News last week, Chinese authorities said that Ms Fan's case was under investigation.

"Ms Fan's legitimate rights have been fully ensured and her family has been notified," the authorities said.

On Monday (Dec 14), Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin reiterated that the case is under investigation, and that all legal rights and interests of the employee are guaranteed.

Ms Fan has previously worked with CNBC, CBS News, Al Jazeera and Thomson Reuters. Chinese nationals can only work as news assistants for foreign news bureaus in China and are not allowed to do independent reporting.

A Bloomberg spokesman said last week that the company was very concerned for Ms Fan and has been "actively speaking to Chinese authorities to better understand the situation".

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