Chinese reporter chasing corruption claims disappears

Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:18am EST
 
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By Emma Graham-Harrison and Yu Le

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese newspaper reporter investigating a suspicious real estate deal who has not been seen since five men pushed him into a car two weeks ago has been accused of bribery, in the second such case this month.

Guan Jian, reporter for the small Network News (Wangluo Bao) paper, was seized by police over bribery allegations, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the Shanxi Provincial Public Security Department.

The case appears to be the second in two weeks involving journalists who colleagues said were targeted for probing graft in a part of north China rich in both coal and corruption claims.

Guan Jian was seized from a hotel lobby in Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi province on December 1 and forced into a waiting four-wheel drive, hotel security tapes showed.

Video footage from the Jinjiang Inn, published in the Beijing News, showed Guan in the lobby when the men arrived. He has not contacted his family since, his son told Reuters.

"His friends couldn't reach him, his colleagues couldn't either. At first we thought he had just gone on a reporting trip, but then after several days when he still wasn't in touch, we got worried," Guan Yufei said in a phone interview.

He traveled to Shanxi to look for his father, who was in the provincial capital, Taiyuan, investigating claims of illegal land-use by a real estate company with official connections.

The younger Guan came back with only tapes of the apparent kidnapping, but said he was hopeful his father was still alive.   Continued...