Police yesterday revoked a detention order for a journalist who had reported alleged irregularities at a listed Zhejiang company because provincial authorities had ignored proper criminal procedures in favour of protecting the company. Economic Observer journalist Qiu Ziming, 28, was placed on a national online list of wanted criminals last Friday for 'alleged damage to a company's business reputation'. He had written a series of reports about alleged insider trading at Kan Specialties Material, which is based in Suichang county. Suichang police, who had issued the order, was told to scrap it and apologise to Qiu yesterday after an investigation headed by police in Lishui, the city that administers the county, Xinhua reported. The detention order 'did not meet statutory requirements', Xinhua said. Police will investigate the case and the alleged irregularities at Kan. Qiu was never arrested. He went into hiding when he heard of the detention order and his mobile phone remained switched off yesterday. The case had generated much comment, both on the internet and in newspapers. Online polls overwhelmingly supported Qiu and viewed the wanted list as unlawful. The Economic Observer was also informed yesterday. 'We're happy they corrected their mistake,' lawyer Xiang Wujun said. Beijing-based lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan said criminal procedural guidelines should form the legal basis for a wanted list. Article 252 states that a wanted list may be issued when a suspect under an arrest order is at large. Police above the county level may issue the order if the suspect is within their jurisdiction, but must obtain approval from their superiors if not. 'In this case, the police decided only to detain Qiu,' said Zhou Ze, a partner at the Beijing Wentian Law Firm who champions journalists' rights on the mainland. The revocation suggested the local authority ignored the law and rushed to make a decision to protect a powerful local company, he said. 'It should be safe for the journalist now. I believe the police will now drop the case.' But somebody should be held accountable for the order, Zhou added, and the government should inform the public of who that was. Liu said if no one took blame for the error, the method might be repeated to silence journalists. Sympathetic media coverage and internet comments have become a significant force in pressuring officials to reverse unpopular actions. The outcry highlights the problems mainland reporters face when companies collude with local authorities. Car accidents this week involving the families of two journalists who had disclosed Zijin Mining's alleged pollution in Fujian province and subsequent bribery attempts added yet more attention to the deteriorating situation for mainland journalists. Lawyers, journalists, non-governmental organisation staff and petitioners were in constant danger on the mainland for being on the front line in the fight for rights, Zhou said. 'I was impressed by the way the newspaper handled it,' he said. 'The high-profile statement tried to protect the journalist's legal rights and the dignity of journalism. 'It's quite the opposite with some media that have cut off communication with journalists involved in a case and placed the media worker in a tough situation.' Mainland journalists circulated on their micro-blogs that propaganda authorities had asked the media in Hangzhou , Zhejiang's capital, to play down the improper detention order and focus on complimenting the swift reaction by police. Phone calls to Kan and the Suichang county public security officials went unanswered yesterday. Weng Anyu , the financial director of a Hangzhou real estate company, was detained by Suichang county police on Tuesday for disseminating Qiu's stories in online forums in June. Weng was released yesterday afternoon, his lawyer, Wu Dingjian , said.