|"Disappeared" CCTV anchor Rui Chenggang|
"People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word."
1984, Book 1, Chapter 1
1984, Book 1, Chapter 1
China's powerful propaganda department has moved to dampen a flurry of speculation in the country's tightly controlled state media after the sudden detention of one of the country's top news anchors amid an ongoing graft probe.
The ruling Chinese Communist Party's Central Propaganda Department issued a directive banning news organizations "hyping up" coverage linked to the detention of top state broadcaster CCTV's economic news anchor Rui Chenggang, after he was detained ahead of the show on Friday, leaving his co-host sitting next to an empty chair.
Reports suggest Rui, 37, is connected to other senior figures in CCTV who were detained over an ongoing graft probe last month, including channel chief Guo Zhenxi reports Radio Free Asia.
"News of the investigation of Rui Chenggang should not be on the double homepages [main and news]," the leaked directive, translated and published by the China Digital News (CDT) website, said.
"Do not hype related content," the directive, dated July 12, 2014, said.
|"Chairman Mao says to obey our Masters."|
China's Supreme People's Procuratorate, or state prosecutor, announced it was investigating Guo, along with producer Tian Liwu, for graft on June 1, official media reported.
On June 6, the authorities also detained producer Wang Shijie, a second news anchor and writer-director, the cutting-edge news portal Caixin reported, after Rui's assistant had tried to quash rampant speculation that Rui would be next.
Eight held so far.
Rui's detention, which came alongside that of channel vice director Li Yong and another unnamed producer on Friday, brings to eight the number of CCTV financial news channel staff currently in detention, Caixin said.
It said Rui's family is believed to have run a public relations firm which charged people to be interviewed by Rui on CCTV.
Hong Kong-based independent investigative journalist Li Jianjun, who formerly worked on a number of official newspapers, said Rui's sudden removal from the airwaves highlights the tangled relationship between media and state power in China.
"Unlike the Western media, media organizations in China aren't independent," Li said. "The Western media...oversees those in power, while the Chinese media is part of government power, and dependent on it."
"Given this situation, it's not at all surprising to me that something like this could happen," he said. "What happened to Rui Chenggang isn't unusual at all."