As if the shit hasn’t already hit the fan hard enough for Bloomberg News in China, Fortune is reporting that Chinese authorities conducted a series of “unannounced inspections” in Bloomberg News’s bureaus in both Beijing and Shanghai. The inspections took place in “the final days of November,” after the news agency became embroiled in self-censorship scandal.
The inspections may have been linked to anger and discomfort following Bloomberg news editor Matt Winkler’s reported comparison of modern China to Nazi Germany, which ruffled a lot of feathers in the (quite large) section of Chinese society that doesn’t like being explicitly tied to fascism. SHANGHAIIST PRO TIP ©: If you are seeking to dispel notions of Naziism, authoritarian “inspections” of international media agencies are not going to help your cause.
Fortune reports the details in an exclusive:
Details of the inspections, conducted on the same day at the news bureaus in Beijing and Shanghai, are sketchy. It’s unclear how many officials were present or what government agency they represented. Different sources say, variously, that the visits were characterized as “security inspections” or “safety inspections.” But journalists inside Bloomberg view the appearance by civil government officials (they weren’t police) as an act of intimidation — precisely the reaction Bloomberg was eager to avoid.
If Winkler is serious about Bloomberg News’s China branch only reporting stories that don’t prod the communist leadership, then perhaps he should get more used to unannounced official visits, at least until local authorities can grant him an in-house ideological rectifier.
[Image via Flickr]