China Blocks Britain's 'Guardian' Newspaper After Critical Investigative Report

2:46 AM PST 01/22/2014 by Patrick Brzeski

One day prior to the crackdown, the newspaper published an article revealing that family members of top Chinese officials are using offshore Caribbean banks to hold their fortunes.

British newspaper the Guardian said Wednesday that its website has been blocked again in China, one day after the publication of an investigative piece revealing that relatives of the country's top political and military leaders are making use of offshore banks in the Caribbean.

Earlier this month, the Guardian found that its English-language website was inaccessible in China, but that block lasted no more than a day. The motivations for the brief censorship of the newspaper were unclear, as the Guardian hadn't done any recent politically sensitive reporting on China.

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This time the cause is much more apparent. On Tuesday, the Guardian published a lengthy report, based on leaked financial documents, showing that the brother-in-law of Chinese president Xi Jinping and the son and son-in-law of former premier Wen Jiabao are among more than a dozen family members of current or former leaders using offshore havens to store their riches.

China has frequently blocked foreign news sites as punishment for reporting that embarrasses the country's leaders. The websites of the New York Times and Bloomberg News were blocked last year after they published exposés about the massive wealth amassed by family members of key Communist Party power players. Both sites remain inaccessible in the country. The Chinese-language sites of Thomson Reuters and the Wall Street Journal were momentarily blocked in November, but can now be viewed.

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The conspicuous wealth of Chinese leaders has become a cause of great cynicism and discontent among the Chinese public, so much so that President Xi made cracking down on corruption and instituting austerity among government ranks a pillar policy initiative after taking office last year.  

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