Despite former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg's repeated insistence that Chinese leader "Xi Jinping is not a dictator," Chinese authorities have detained a journalist who works for him.
Chinese authorities detained Haze Fan, a Bloomberg News assistant, on Monday for "jeopardiz[ing] national security." She was last seen being taken into custody by plainclothes police, according to the outlet.
"We are very concerned for her, and have been actively speaking to Chinese authorities to better understand the situation. We are continuing to do everything we can to support her while we seek more information," a Bloomberg spokesperson said.
Bloomberg, a billionaire media mogul, repeatedly defended the Chinese government during his short-lived bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, arguing that Xi is not a dictator because he is accountable to the Politburo, which is not elected by the Chinese people.
"Xi Jinping is not a dictator; he has to satisfy his constituents or he's not going to survive," Bloomberg told Firing Line host Margaret Hoover in September 2019. He reiterated the claim in a Democratic primary debate in February.
Bloomberg has considerable business interests in China. The failed presidential candidate runs a "Davos-style event" in Beijing that brings him considerable profit and has expanded his core financial-services business into Chinese markets. The business considerations made their way into the newsroom: Bloomberg News decided to kill an investigative piece on Xi's relatives in 2013, according to the wife of the journalist who wrote the piece.