China partially blocked the English website of the Guardian on Wednesday. The action of the Chinese government came after the media group reported about the offshore wealth of the political and military leaders in the country.
This is the second time that China has prevented users from accessing the media group’s website. The first incident happened earlier this month, but it was brief.
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According to the Guardian, users in China failed to access the story despite repeated attempts without a virtual private network (VPN). The media group said users are also unable to access the front page of its website and failure to access unrelated stories was intermittent.
Blockage could last longer
Great Fire, a Chinese censorship monitoring organization, suggested that the current blockage on the British paper’s website might last longer than the previous incident earlier this month. The organization believed that the earlier incident was a test, and Chinese authorities were anticipating the investigative report regarding the offshore wealth of its political and military leaders.
The Guardian reported that the brother-in-law of president Xi Jinping and the son and son-in-law of former premier Wen Jinbao are using offshore havens in the Caribbean to hide their wealth based on leaked financial documents from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The investigative report showed that 21,000 clients from mainland China and Hong Kong use offshore havens in the Caribbean amid the increasing scrutiny regarding the wealth and power of the family members of China’s leaders.
Aside from the Guardian, China also blocked the websites of the ICIJ and Spanish newspaper, El Pais. The website of the Global Mail is accessible but the page about the stock was blocked.
China blocked news websites in the past
In 2012, China blocked the websites of Bloomberg and the New York Times after reporting about the onshore assets of the relatives of the country’s leaders. The Chinese government also refused to issue visas for new reporters.
Last year, Chinese hackers repeatedly attacked the computer system of the New York Times after the newspaper exposed the enormous wealth accumulated by the family of Premier Wen Jiabao.