Leta Hong Fincher, wife of the former award-winning Bloomberg China reporter Michael Forsythe whose revealing story about financial ties between Wang Jianlin and the CCP was killed by the publication, reportedly sent out Twitter posts Friday night suggesting that the two were being hassled by Bloomberg lawyers. If true, this could mean that China’s influence in preventing the news agency from running Forsythe’s story, which was barred from all publications and allegedly led to his dismissal, extends further than we thought.
Emily Brill of BuzzFeed shared a screenshot of the posts, reading: “Has anyone heard of a spouse being sued for breaching a company’s confidentiality agreement when the spouse never worked for that company?”
“Can anyone recommend a feminist lawyer in Hong Kong?”
Both the posts were deleted by Saturday morning.
Leta Hong Fincher, no stranger to being targeted, has taken to Twitter in the past to reveal that her family received death threats after her husband’s exposé on Xi Jinping’s family members’ secret wealth led to the web site being blocked in China.
Forsythe was suspended from Bloomberg’s Hong Kong bureau in November after writing an investigative story about Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man, and his financial ties with the CCP. Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief Matt Winkler, who reportedly feared that the report might get the news agency kicked out of the country, killed the story, preventing it from being run in any publication at all. The New York Times ran a story about the cancellation, and Forsyth was later dismissed.
It’s only speculated that Forsyth’s story was directly connected to his dismissal, but if it is, and if what these Twitter posts suggest is true, it only further confirms Bloomberg’s shameful catering to Chinese censorship and the measures the agency will take to stay in the country to report censored news.
As Shanghaiist’s Eric Crouch so eloquently rants:
Firstly, Mike Forsythe isn’t just a good reporter, he’s a great reporter. His piece on Xi Jinping’s family wealth and connections, published in Bloomberg News last year, came within inches of winning a Pulitzer. It was a perfect investigatory journalism piece, written by a group of reporters who knew mandarin, Chinese history, finance, and research inside-and-out. If Forsythe’s reported Wang Jianlin piece is one-tenth the story that his Xi Jinping article was, we are all worse off for not having read it.
It is one thing if China censors the Bloomberg News website (as it so loves to do) or censors the New York Times, or cracks-down on its internal press. That type of censorship isn’t exactly welcome, but it’s far from new…Winkler lovingly laid himself down as the red carpet for the CCP to cross before they ransacked Bloomberg News. The censors of one nation have abruptly and repulsively become the censors of us all; regardless of geography or VPN-skills, we have all been deprived of knowing more about the Chinese government, explicitly because the Chinese government does not want us to.
A report from the New York Times today revealed that last year’s story by Pulitzer-prize winning David Barboza, which exposed the wealth of China’s elite and led to the Time’s being blocked in China, has resulted in revenue losses of 3 million USD so far.
Reports say that at least 24 Bloomberg and New York Times reporters are currently facing ejection from China starting December 17.
Reporters at Bloomberg and the Times have been “mysteriously” stymied in their attempts to get visas to operate since these blockbuster reports were published. At least 24 journalists now face unceremonious expulsion from China, according to the New York Times, due to the recalcitrance and anger of Beijing over [their investigative reports].