Washington, Dec. 3: China carried out unannounced ‘inspections’ at Bloomberg News bureaus in Beijing and Shanghai in November.
Chinese authorities visited the bureaus after media reports revealed Bloomberg cancelled a year-long investigation for an article on financial ties between a Chinese billionaire and government officials.
According to CNN, Bloomberg has been described in press accounts that the bureau cancelled the article to avoid antagonizing the Chinese government.
Bloomberg News editor-in-chief Matt Winkler explained his decision to kill the story by comparing it to self-censorship in Nazi-era Germany, the report said.
He said that it would allow Bloomberg to avoid being expelled from China. But instead of soothing the government, Winkler’s reported comment stirred anger.
During the visits, one Chinese official asked the company for an apology from Winkler.
According to the report, Bloomberg has publicly insisted that its 2,500-word article was merely delayed, not cancelled, because it was ‘not ready’.
Meanwhile, Mike Forsythe, the reporter on the project, who is suspected of leaking word of the company’s actions, left Bloomberg News after 13 years at the company.
It is not clear how many officials were present or what government agency they represented during the inspection.
Different sources said that the visits were characterized as security inspections or safety inspections.
But journalists inside Bloomberg view the appearance by civil government officials as an act of intimidation.(ANI)