Local officials in China have blocked its internet users from gaining access to the Bloomberg/Businessweek news website, most likely because the news agency published a story detailing the vast wealth of Vice President Xi Jinping, who is set to become the next president of the country.
The story, published on Friday morning, said that Xi and his family have accumulated a fortune valued at hundreds of millions of dollars through investments in multiple, secret holding companies.
The family has significant stakes in Shenzhen Yuanwei, a property investment company, as well as holdings in lucrative rare earth and metals and technology companies.
In addition, the Bloomberg article noted, Xi’s family owns a $31.5-million villa on the South China Sea in Hong Kong and at least six other properties on the island.
Chinese political leaders earn modest salaries (ministers typically take home about $12,500) and are forbidden from accumulating personal fortunes.
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Interestingly, none of the assets were traced directly to Xi himself.
The revelations would be particularly embarrassing to a Communist leadership seeking to stamp out government corruption. Xi himself has been associated with clean government and integrity.
Chinese officials scour foreign internet sites in order to block any sensitive reports and often block access to such items.
Dali Yang, a political scientist at the University of Chicago Center in Beijing told BBC: The [Chinese] government has always been very careful in, on the one hand, emphasizing how they want to contain corruption but yet also worrying about how reports of this nature might galvanize public opinion against the Communist Party.”
The Bloomberg report follows the scandal surrounding former Communist party official Bo Xilai, who is suspected to having smuggled billions of dollars out of China.
Apparently, outrage is growing among the Chinese public over the vast wealth of many bureaucrats and so-called ”princelings.”