Rui Chenggang, anchor on China Central Television (File photo)
In sharp contrast to the limited coverage of CCTV star anchor Rui Chenggang in the official media, social and new media are full of reports on his “being taken away by procuratorate”, with comments spreading fast and wide on WeChat.
Information on Rui’s “being taken away” is limited, the same as other similar cases under investigation. Whether he assists investigation or himself is under investigation is not revealed yet. However, it will not be a big surprise if Rui turns out to be involved in corruption or exploiting his position to make money as some media reports said, given the ongoing tremors caused by corruption allegations in the CCTV business channel.
For ordinary Chinese, Rui’s “missing” was even more dramatic than the news of the fall of “big tiger” Han Xiancong, a top political adviser in Anhui province, on the same day. Perhaps the reason for that is that 35 provincial or higher level “big tigers” have already been ensnared in the anti-corruption drive since the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China, whereas Rui is the first well-known TV anchor to be “taken away”.
But people need to distinguish his misdeeds, if confirmed, from his profession career. Even if Rui is truly under investigation, he is being investigated not for his journalistic work, despite its controversial nature at times, but for his possible wrongdoings.
For long, Rui has been admired by youths as a symbol of China’s new elite generation. He topped the college entrance examination, or gaokao, in Hefei, Anhui province, and got admitted to China Foreign Affairs University, and ultimately completed his studies at Yale University. After joining CCTV, the most influential TV station in China, he has interviewed about 200 political and business leaders from across the world.
There is little doubt that Rui possesses almost everything today’s Chinese youths crave — good education, a well-paying job, handsome looks, money and fame. That’s perhaps the main reason why his “being taken away” has dealt a blow to the TV station and sparked heated online debates.
Some critics say Rui deserved to be “detained” because he was snobbish and arrogant. Others argue that he was “taken down” for his “nationalist remarks”, and still some others lament his fall from grace.