Freedom of web use in mainland China is again under scrutiny after several sites have been blocked within the communist nation.
Access to Bloomberg’s websites including Bloomberg.com and Businessweek.com has been blocked by local authorities in what the news agency believes is a response to a recently published article about the fortunes of Vice President Xi Jinping’s extended family.
This is by no means the first time that sensitive stories have been blocked by the Chinese authorities. Last week, social media accounts belonging to the New York Times were suspended for several hours.
Speaking to the BBC, a representative for Bloomberg said:
“Our Bloomberg.com and Businessweek.com websites are currently inaccessible in China in reaction, we believe, to a Bloomberg News story that was published on Friday morning. Everything else is up and running – consumer and free public [sites] facing are blocked. Terminals are not disrupted.”
The story believed to have sparked this recent bout of web censorship told of the multi-million dollar wealth enjoyed by some of Jinping’s relatives, going on to say:
“As Xi climbed the Communist Party ranks, his extended family expanded their business interests to include minerals, real estate and mobile-phone equipment, according to public documents compiled by Bloomberg.”
Online censorship in China is nothing new. Local authorities closely monitor all internet content that enters the country, with many western firms and sites not being able to get passed what has become known as the Great Firewall of China.
Globally popular sites belonging to YouTube, Google+, Dropbox and leading social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are all banned within China.