Date
17 August 2017
Jasmine Li -- granddaughter of Jia Qinglin, once China's fourth-most powerful man -- is one of the relatives of top Chinese officials named in the Panama Papers. Photo: Le Journal des Femmes
Jasmine Li -- granddaughter of Jia Qinglin, once China's fourth-most powerful man -- is one of the relatives of top Chinese officials named in the Panama Papers. Photo: Le Journal des Femmes

Chinese censors try to black out Panama Papers news

Chinese media have largely ignored Sunday’s revelations in the leaked Panama Papers about offshore assets controlled by relatives of top Communist Party officials, including President Xi Jinping.

Censors have curbed news and social media mentions of the documents — which detail offshore accounts linked to prominent people around the world – though their efforts appear uneven, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Relatives of several current and former members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the party’s top decision-making body, were reportedly identified in the documents, which included emails, financial spreadsheets and corporate records from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co.

Those officials include Xi, former premier Li Peng, and ex-Politburo Standing Committee member Jia Qinglin, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which was among the more than 100 news organizations that have examined the Panama Papers, reported.

The BBC, one of the news outlets that reviewed the papers, has named current Politburo Standing Committee members Zhang Gaoli and Liu Yunshan as having relatives identified in the leaked documents.

Neither the party’s flagship People’s Daily newspaper nor state broadcaster China Central Television has reported on the Panama Papers.

Coverage by the official Xinhua news agency has so far been limited to an article detailing comments made by Michel Platini, the disgraced former president of Europe’s soccer federation, in response to being identified in the leaked documents.

Some Chinese commercial news portals ran reports on the Panama Papers that focused on people with close connections to foreign personalities, such as the late father of British Prime Minister David Cameron and associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, without mentioning details linked to Chinese political figures.

Many of these articles have since become inaccessible.

Several Chinese search engines, including Baidu and Sohu, blocked searches for the term “Panama Papers”, though other related terms, like “Panama leaks”, produced results.

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