Last weekend, The New York Times and later, The Financial Times reported that, according to Bloomberg News employees, Bloomberg editor in chief Matthew Winkler informed reporters by telephone on October 29 that Bloomberg would not publish their investigative story linking China’s wealthiest men to the country’s top leaders, because of concerns the story would anger the Chinese government and might elicit retribution in the form of denied visas for reporters. Winkler denied the employees’ allegations, telling the Times the stories “were active and not spiked.” The story was first broken by the Taiwan-based Next Media Animation, which published this animated video on the subject.
Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry informed journalist Paul Mooney, who has been reporting in China for 18 years, that he would not be granted a journalist visa—a necessary credential for foreigners reporting in China—to work for Reuters.
Both the Bloomberg and the Times have had their websites blocked in China and residency visas for new reporters denied since publishing stories on the wealth of the families of China’s leaders last year. The Times story on the the family of former premier Wen Jiabao, won a Pulitzer Prize. The Times Bloomberg’s “Revolution to Riches” series on the fortunes of leaders including Xi Jinping was awarded Asia Society’s Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia.
We asked ChinaFile contributors for their reactions. —The ChinaFile Editors
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that The Financial Times published its story about Bloomberg on Friday. The Financial Times’ story was published on Sunday.