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China detains prominent financial news TV anchor over corruption: reports

SHANGHAI -- Chinese authorities have detained a prominent financial news anchor for state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), according to media reports, in what appears to be the latest target in a corruption crackdown.

Authorities on Friday “took away” Rui Chenggang, 36, known for his fluent English and interviews with corporate and world leaders, along with the deputy director of CCTV's finance channel Li Yong, the influential Caixin magazine reported on its website.

The government has not confirmed the detentions, which were reported by state media including the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, the People's Daily.

Shanghai media platform “The Paper” quoted CCTV sources as saying Rui and his family members allegedly set up a public relations company which made use of his influence for “seeking profits.

The report said the public relations firm took fees from some of Rui's interview subjects for arranging activities in China including meetings with government officials, as well as payments for the type and duration of coverage they would receive from CCTV.

Rui failed to show for his usual Economic News program on Friday, media reports said.

A graduate of China's Foreign Affairs College, which grooms the country's diplomats, he also worked for CCTV's English-language channel starting from 2000, according to an official biography which remains on the broadcaster's website.

Part of his fame arose from an eventually successful campaign to oust a branch of U.S. coffee chain Starbucks from the imperial Forbidden City in Beijing.

At a press conference for the G20 summit in 2010, he caused a stir with his comment to U.S. President Barack Obama who was seeking questions from South Korean media, saying: “I'm actually Chinese. I think I get to represent the entire Asia.”

His previous interview subjects included Microsoft founder Bill Gates and former U.S. president Bill Clinton, CCTV said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has launched a sweeping crackdown on graft since he took office last year with authorities recently targeting officials linked to the country's former security chief.

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