Self-proclaimed qigong master Wang Lin. Photo: SCMP Pictures

NewChina's public security ministry steps in to handle investigation into detained journalist

Authorities silent on previous allegation that writer illegally obtained state secrets

China's Ministry of Public Security is to take over an investigation into a journalist whose articles exposed a controversial qigong master's unlawful acts, according to state media.

Liu Wei, 37, deputy director of the investigative division of , had been detained by Jiangxi police on October 8 on suspicion of illegally obtaining state secrets.

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Liu's articles had revealed links between self-proclaimed qigong master Wang Lin and celebrities, business people and Communist Party cadres. Wang has been under arrest since July on suspicion of involvement in a kidnapping and murder of a Jiangxi businessman.

In a news briefing on Sunday night, Xinhua said the ministry would take over the investigation into Liu, although it made no mention of Liu's detention being related to state secrets.

The handover was believed to be aimed at avoiding a conflict of interest for Jiangxi police as a local police officer was reportedly linked to the case.


The ministry would also take charge of the investigation into Wang's wife and that policeman, whom she allegedly bribed to obtain documents, Xinhua said. The Jiangxi police bureau said it would cooperate with the ministry on its decision.

"When reporting the case … Liu was allegedly implicated in [the actions of Wang's wife and the policeman]," Xinhua said.

Liu's detention has sparked concern among media professionals and academics, with some worried that his case could be the start of a crackdown on investigative reporters.

Liu started reporting about Wang in 2013, after several celebrities accused the qigong master of charging exorbitant fees for "medical treatment".



This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Ministry takes over probe into journalist