Rights groups are calling for the release of Wang Xiaolu, a Chinese journalist jailed for "spreading false information" and other allegations that may be linked to an article he wrote about Beijing's handling of its stock market crisis.
Wang, a reporter for China's Caijing magazine, was arrested at his home on Tuesday and taken into police custody, official Chinese press agency Xinhua reported. He was accused of "fabricating and spreading false information about securities and futures trading," though it was not clear if he would face formal charges.
The arrest appeared to be tied to an article he wrote on July 20 that indicated China's Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) was looking to withdraw funds from the plummeting stock market, Caijing said in a statement. That report, which the CSRC promptly denied, may have contributed to a late July stock plunge, which saw $3 trillion dollars evaporate from the market.
"Chinese authorities' hypersensitivity to fluctuations in the financial markets is no reason to intimidate and jail a journalist for covering the news," said Bob Dietz, the program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists. "We call on Chinese authorities to immediately release Wang Xiaolu."
The CSRC called Wang's article "irresponsible" and probed Caijing about its editing and reporting process, the magazine said.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, major news outlets in China have been routinely told to delete articles about Beijing's response to the stock market crisis, which has shaken confidence in the country's capitalist transformation and sent tremors across the global economy.