The Chinese foreign ministry also says the arrest has “no impact on bilateral relations and China will steadfastly promote the investigation.”
Interpol has announced the arrest of a Chinese journalist, Cui Yongyuan, who is wanted on charges of threatening state security.
Cui is a pseudonym of the journalist and writer Cao Xueping. Cao was found dead in his farmhouse on June 14, and police in Xinjiang have said they were investigating his death as a possible murder. He was a prominent critic of the Chinese Communist Party.
Cui was on Interpol’s most-wanted list, and a fellow Chinese journalist, Gao Yu, told his wife he had been detained. Chinese police published Gao’s name as a suspect shortly after he disappeared. She was not immediately available for comment Sunday.
The ministry statement, which was posted on its website Saturday, cited the chairman of the International Public Security Cooperation Committee, Turkish Antey, and the official Xinhua news agency as saying that the arrests were conducted with international cooperation and “will have no impact on bilateral relations and China will steadfastly promote the investigation.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the decision “confirms” that Cui has had no contact with the outside world.
“As we have said in the past, Cui Yongyuan is a Chinese national and is not a fugitive,” Geng said at a regular briefing Sunday.
Geng added that there is no need for the world to worry, and that “relevant parties can rest assured that as soon as Cui Yongyuan is arrested, the relevant agencies will appropriately handle the issue.”
Western governments have expressed alarm at the death of the Chinese dissident and said he was working covertly on a speech that authorities in Xinjiang were told about. A widely read anti-China website, Guanzhen.org, said he had been detained on China’s suspicion that he had received classified foreign information.
Although Cui said he was not being tortured, he and three other journalists are all facing justice for self-censorship as China’s independent media has become increasingly critical of the party. Other reporters are being silenced for writing about state corruption.
In an unprecedented turn of events, Interpol’s North American regional body put the four, including the indicted journalist, on the list of 120 most-wanted criminals last month, provoking a torrent of criticism from western governments, intelligence agencies and press freedom groups.
Xi is a Chinese tyrant determined to quash all opposition. He detains and arrests journalists, criticizes journalism and limits information.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, complained that the arrest of Cui and the others was “unprecedented”, though he added that the three countries had violated Interpol rules. He said that three members of his nation’s parliament had “explicitly” been involved in the crackdown.
Cui himself condemned the arrest of four journalists in an online post, saying it was “pretext” to muzzle the media.
“If this was not a common detour aimed at stopping the freedom of expression, it is impossible to describe it as a carefully considered measure,” he wrote.
Cui’s wife has said she feared police would do “whatever they could” to silence her and her family. She has refused to co-operate with the authorities, seeking to protect the family’s privacy.
A state-run agency has accused Cui and three others of stealing state secrets while working as reporters for the U.S.-based website the New York Times in the mid-2000s. The indictment said Cui was involved in “state secrets related to China’s national security.”
During his interview with Guanzhen.org, Cui criticized Xi, the Chinese leader, for “enslaving” the Chinese people, adding that he views Xi as a “martyr” for his political identity.
“Xi is a Chinese tyrant determined to quash all opposition,” he said. “He detains and arrests journalists, criticizes journalism and limits information.”