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Chinese censors should unblock the website of the Bloomberg news agency, which became inaccessible on June 29 following a story on the vice president's family and its financial assets, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Saturday.
The CPJ provided a link to the Bloomberg report headlined "Xi Jinping's millionaire relations reveal elite Chinese fortunes," where the news organization traced millions of dollars in assets to the extended family of Xi, expected to be China's next president. China blocked the news agency's website on the mainland, the news agency said, citing international news reports.
Bloomberg's report did not link the assets to Xi or his immediate family, but quoted Xi speaking out against corruption and urging party officials not to let their families profit through their position: "Rein in your spouses, children, relatives, friends and staff."
CPJ was informed by email by Ty Trippet, a spokesman for Bloomberg, that, "Our Bloomberg.com website is currently inaccessible in China in reaction, we believe, to a Bloomberg News story that was published today."
The CPJ cited an Associated Press report quoting Belina Tan, Bloomberg's Asia spokeswoman, as saying the company believed the site had been inaccessible after a report published Friday, but did not provide more details.
he AP could not reach a Chinese government spokesperson for comment. "It is unclear which government department to even approach to seek an explanation," AP reported. CPJ contacted a government department outside normal business hours, but received no reply.
According to the CPJ alert, the name "Bloomberg" was also blocked from Chinese microblog search results, while Internet searches for "Bloomberg" conducted in China did not return the Xi Jinping report, again, according to international news reports. The Bloomberg Professional service, which provides access to real-time financial data, was still available, the reports said.
Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia program coordinator, said in reaction to Beijing’s action, “China cannot have lasting success as an international power if officials block global business news because they don't like a critical report. Leaders must put China's business interests above their own by unblocking Bloomberg's website."
CPJ research shows international news reports are available to some extent in China, although it blocks some sites and individual stories selectively. 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 also particularly vulnerable to censorship. The New York Times launched its own Chinese-language site on Thursday.