Rui Chenggang (芮成钢) is a business anchor at China Central Television (CCTV), the national TV networks of China. He has attracted public attention for his controversial remarks when interviewing international political figures.
Graduating from China Foreign Affairs University with a degree in international economics, Rui joined the newly-launched CCTV's International Channel (CCTV-9) in 2000. Eight years later, he transferred to CCTV-2, the economy focused channel, to host financial programs. The shows he has hosted over the past decade include “CCTV News,” “World Wide Watch,” “China Business Guide” and “BizChina.” He has also conducted face-to-face interviews with many of the world's top politicians and business leaders, including Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, former U.S. president Bill Clinton, and International Monetary Fund's former managing director Horst Kohler.
In 2001, Rui was awarded as a "Global Leader for Tomorrow 2001" by the World Economic Forum at its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. In 2005, the 28-year-old was selected as Yale University's youngest “Yale World Fellow.” In 2010, Rui became one of China's most popular TV faces by winning the country's top three TV awards, separately presented by the government, TV viewers, and NewWeekly, one of China's most influential magazines.
Rui is also a columnist for Beijing Youth Daily, the most widely read newspaper in the capital city. He is also one of China's leading blogger and microblogger; his comments on social, cultural and business issues attracted millions of hits online. In 2009, he published his first book "Life Begins at 30," in which he reflects on the global economic crisis and cultural clashes between the East and the West.
Rui caught public attention in 2007 when he made a blog post commenting on the Starbucks store located in Beijing's historic Forbidden City. His comments attracted half a million hits within two days, and eventually led to a grass-roots campaign to move the U.S.-based coffee house chain out of the Forbidden City.
During a press conference with U.S. president Barack Obama at the 2010 G20 Seoul Summit, Rui Chenggang asked the final question even though Obama had expressed his willingness to give the opportunity to media members of the host country. “I'm actually Chinese, but I think I get to represent the entire Asia,” Rui said before raising his question. “We are one family here in this part of the world.”
Rui's aggressiveness generated a buzz among Chinese netizens. Some criticized Rui for being pretentious and showing disrespect for a foreign leader and other journalists, while others hailed him for behaving with great initiative as a media person and showing the confidence of the Chinese people to the world.
At the 2011 Summer Davos Forum held in China's northeastern port city of Dalian, Rui asked U.S. ambassador Gary Locke if his flying economy class to attend the forum was a reminder that U.S. is in debt to China.
Locke replied that flying economic class was common practice for all diplomatic staff of U.S. embassies and consulates, as well as for members of the president's cabinet.
Later that day, Rui commented on Locke's reply on Sina Weibo, the Chinese microblogging service similar to Twitter." (Locke) is always making use of whatever opportunities he has to promote American values – only highlighting the positive aspects of the United States and ignoring its negative aspects," Rui wrote. "That's his job."
Some opposing voices took Rui's question as another of his showy tricks that overreached from his role. Others thought that Rui, as a sub-forum moderator at the event, had just tried to crack a joke and introduced the first item on the day's agenda: “Dollar Depreciation and the Influence of U.S. and Europe Debt Crisis on Chinese Assets.” Feng Jun, CEO of Aigo and one of the attendants of the sub-forum, said it was a successful joke and there was no need to overreact
Rui's exchange with Locke has also stirred heated discussion online about the wasteful spending by government officials.
According to a finance magazine Caixin report on July 12, 2014, Rui has been taken in for questioning by local prosecutors.
The 37-year-old co-host of a nightly business news program was conspicuously absent on July 11. Though the show went ahead, it featured just a single host, beside whom was an empty chair and microphone.
An unnamed insider was quoted as saying that prosecutors took Rui away from the CCTV offices on July 11 without notifying the program's producers.