The Chinese government prohibits Chinese citizens from doing independent reporting for foreign news agencies, allowing them to work only as researchers and assistants. Bloomberg News, whose cornerstone is financial and business reporting, employs many Chinese in its large Beijing operation.
Foreign journalists in China have become a point of growing tension in recent years. China’s Foreign Ministry has often complained about what it sees as biased Western news coverage, and this year it expelled a dozen American journalists after the United States expelled a number of American journalists. number of Chinese journalists.
The list of recent articles Ms. Fan has helped mainly include reports on Chinese companies. But she has also worked on reports on the coronavirus pandemic that started in Wuhan, trade tensions between China and the United States, and other broader topics.
In her profile on LinkedIn, Ms. Fan described herself as a senior producer in China for Bloomberg, where she has worked since 2017. Previously, she worked for CNBC, Al Jazeera and other news outlets.
In August, authorities in Beijing arrested Cheng Lei, an Australian of Chinese descent who was working as a reporter for CGTN, a Chinese state broadcaster. Officials later said Ms. Cheng was suspected of violating national security laws, but no details were released.
In 2004, Zhao Yan, a Chinese researcher for the Beijing office of the New York Times, was arrested by state security agents. Mr. Zhao was initially accused of leaking state secrets to The Times, related to reporting on Communist Party leaders. He was later found guilty of a lighter charge of fraud and served three years in prison.
Mr. Lai’s indictment and Ms. Fan’s detention come at a potentially geopolitically sensitive time for China. China has come under heavy fire from Western countries, especially the United States, Britain and Australia, for its new restrictions on Hong Kong.