Prominent Chinese news anchor and former Yale World Fellow Rui Chenggang was detained by Chinese authorities last Friday.
Rui, who hosted the popular financial program “Economic News” and gained both fame and criticism for his at-times unapologetic and anti-Western nationalism, was allegedly arrested as part of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption initiative. Rumors had been circulating for weeks that Rui would soon be implicated in the campaign, the New York Times reported on Monday. He had been accused of using ties between his television network, China Central Television (CCTV), and a public relations firm in which he was a shareholder, to his advantage, the South China Morning Post wrote.
Rui first rose to prominence in 2007, when he spoke out against the existence of a Starbucks kiosk inside Beijing’s historic Forbidden City, calling it an unfitting example of “America’s low-class food culture.” In 2008, his notoriety further increased when he asked then-Chinese ambassador Gary Locke if his choice to fly economy class was a reminder that the United States owed money to China.
The news anchor, who according to the Times has a taste for Jaguars and Zegna suits, arrived on Yale’s campus nine years ago as part of the 2005 class of World Fellows. His biography on the World Fellows website says his goal is to “redefine international journalism in China” and “restore and promote a balanced global image of Chinese society.” The University could not be reached for comment.
Rui was detained at the same time as Li Yong, vice director of financial news for CCTV.