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Haze Fan has been detained on suspicion of violating national security laws. Photo: Twitter

EU urges China to give detained Bloomberg staffer access to a lawyer

  • Brussels urges authorities to let Haze Fan contact her family and receive medical care
  • EU also expresses concern about Chinese journalists and citizens detained for coronavirus reporting and calls for their release

The European Union called on Chinese authorities to allow a Bloomberg News staffer who was detained last week in Beijing to have access to a lawyer, medical care and contact with her family.

China has confirmed that 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 December 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 night in Brussels. 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 Fan’s case was under investigation. “Ms Fan’s legitimate rights have been fully ensured and her family has been notified,” the authorities said.

Chinese Bloomberg employee held on national security grounds

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 spokesperson said last week the company was “very concerned” for her and has been “actively speaking to Chinese authorities to better understand the situation.”

Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait told the organisation’s television channel on Friday that “We have been doing our best to try and find out exactly where she is, what’s happened and to try and get her back.”

“Haze is a very talented person, a very respected, integral part of our newsroom, very popular, and we are deeply concerned for her well-being,” Micklethwait said.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: EU requests Calls on legal access to detained journalist