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SHANGHAI – Guo Zhenxi, a senior executive at China Central Television, and a CCTV2 channel producer Tan Liwu are being investigated for bribery.

Guo was taken into custody at the end of May and colleagues have been told not to contact him. The official Xinhua news agency reported his detention on June 1.

Guo was head of the channel’s advertising sales unit and also ran one of the country’s most keenly watched programs, “Consumer Day,” which aimed to root out corporate malpractice.

Investigative online publication Caixin, now says that Guo apparently crossed a line between content and advertising that in China has long been blurred. It says too that three other executives have also been detained.

Guo’s career success was built on closer than normal relations between the channel and advertisers in the 2002-08 period.

But Caixin says that Guo may have received payments from companies in order that “Consumer Day” either shield them from criticism or give them plaudits. Companies that received negative coverage from the channel included Apple, Starbucks and China’s Baidu.