Yesterday (Friday June 29) Bloomberg News published a report investigating China’s Vice-President Xi Jinping’s extended family and their ownership worth millions in a variety of companies and property.
While Bloomberg didn’t offer any charges of wrongdoing with the holdings, apparently the fact Bloomberg ran the report was enough to block Internet users in China’s mainland from using Bloomberg’s website. Bloomberg reporters used public documents for the report.
The article titled, “Xi Jinping’s millionaire relations reveal elite Chinese fortunes” shows Jinping is in direct contradiction of what he has said, “Rein in your spouses, children, relatives, friends and staff” when speaking out against corruption and party members whose influence may serve family members from profiting through party members position and rank.
Aside from blocking the website the name Bloomberg was blocked from microblog search results. “Bloomberg” searches did not pull up the report on Jinping, however unlike blocked access to the Bloomberg.com website users were able to access the Bloomberg Professional service which offers real-time financial information reported the CPJ website.
In an email statement to CPJ, Ty Trippet, who is a spokesman for Bloomberg wrote, “Our Bloomberg.com website is currently inaccessible in China in reaction, we believe, to a Bloomberg News story that was published today.”
CPJ responded to the censorship,”China cannot have lasting success as an international power if officials block global business news because they don’t like a critical report,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia program coordinator. “Leaders must put China’s business interests above their own by unblocking Bloomberg’s website.”
According to CPJ, International news reports are available to some extent in China, although it blocks some sites and individual stories selectively, according to CPJ research (this link is to an article in 2011 written by Robert Mahoney a Deputy Director at CPJ about the censorship in China of CNN) Some sites, like Twitter, are only accessible via proxy servers which allow users to circumvent the censors’ firewall, CPJ research shows.
Chinese-language content from overseas is particularly vulnerable to censorship, CPJ research (the link is a statement from CPJ in 2008 when China banned the Chinese langauge versions of the BBC and Voice of America) shows. The New York Times launched its own Chinese-language site on Thursday.
An article from CPJ and also an article from the Associated Press (for confirmation purposes) were used as the basis for this article on China’s censorship of the Bloomberg website for its report on Jinping’s extended family.