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A veteran anchor with China Central Television (CCTV) is under suspicion of spying, sources revealed Thursday.|
Fang Jing, the 38-year-old face of CCTV's prime-time military program Defense Watch, is being investigated for possibly spying for Taiwan, colleagues told China Daily.
The security authorities have neither confirmed nor denied the reports.
Fang, a Beijing native with a postgraduate degree, started hosting the program in 2006. Her last on-air appearance was on the Sunday edition on March 1 when she hosted an episode about India's military strength featuring Rear Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong, a military expert at the National Defense University.
Fang's segments often touch upon regional military topics and she compares China's military capacity with foreign powers, often with the help of specialists from the People's Liberation Army.
Zhang, who has been a frequent guest on the show, told China Daily Thursday night that Fang's case is "still under investigation" and "no conclusion has been reached so far".
"She has not been jailed as is being rumored," Zhang said. "But she is not hosting the program anymore, because she is currently being investigated."
He confirmed that Fang quit after the March 1 edition.
Sources with CCTV also confirmed Thursday that Fang had been "taken away for a possible spy probe".
She was rumored to have been seduced by a man from Taiwan who was "eight years younger than her" and to have received money from him, the sources said.
Fang had been member of the all-star line-up at some of the largest live broadcasts in CCTV history, including the three-day live coverage of the return of Hong Kong to the mainland in 1997 and live coverage of the millennium celebrations.
She started working for CCTV in 1994 after graduating from China's top school for broadcast journalists and spent four months at Harvard University in Boston as a visiting scholar.
A Yi, another CCTV anchor, speculated on his blog on Tuesday that Fang, who had hosted prime-time news features and news bulletins, wanted to host the military weekly program "for the purpose of collecting military intelligence for sources outside".
An online forum about Fang Thursday night was filled with emotional posts, with many fans expressing shock and outrage.
"It can't be that such an outstanding woman has been turned against the mainland," a viewer said on condition of anonymity.
"But if it's true, it is quite worrisome because she could have learned a lot through her job."