China blocked Bloomberg over Xi story

Featured - July 5th, 2012
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Chinese authorities blocked English-language news website Bloomberg in another show of tight controls on public opinion as the country heads towards its once-in-a-decade leadership transition, the Asahi Shimbun reports.

Bloomberg spokeswoman Belina Tan told Asahi Shimbun, “Our website is currently inaccessible in China in reaction, we believe, to a Bloomberg News story that was published on June 29,” alluding to the story which covered Vice President Xi Jinping’s multi-million dollar fortunes. Bloomberg was blocked for five days.

The Bloomberg article reported the finances of the extended family of the Vice President Xi, stating that no assets were traced to Xi or his family. There was also no indication that Xi helped in advancing his relatives’ business transactions. The article did not report any wrongdoing by Xi or his family.

China is in the crucial time before the approaching leadership handover when public discontent could threaten to disrupt a carefully laid out Party. A Foreign Ministry spokesman, in a briefing about the blocked websites, told media that all websites must abide by China’s laws. The “Great Firewall of China” has been known to block politically sensitive issues and search terms. Recently, Chinese state media acclaimed ordinary citizens as “good samaritans” in an attempt to win public loyalty.