Award-winning Michael Forsythe placed on leave over piece that N.Y. Times says his editors would't run over fears of Chinese retribution
A reporter for Bloomberg News, who worked on an article about China that was reportedly killed by editors for political reasons, has been suspended.
Hong Kong-based Michael Forsythe, who has written award-winning investigative articles on China, met with supervisors and was placed on leave, two Bloomberg employees with knowledge of the situation told the New York Times in a story published Sunday.
A Bloomberg News spokeswoman declined comment Sunday, but the news organization earlier rejected a N.Y. Times report alleging that it squelched the articles on the corruption of Chinese officials out of fear that its reporters would be kicked out of the country. The article, about a Chinese tycoon and his ties to families of Communist Party leaders, was written by Forsythe and Shai Oster.
“As we were very clear with the Times, it is absolutely false that we postponed these stories due to external pressure,” the company said in a statement to TheWrap after the initial N.Y. Times report.
“We are disappointed that they chose to publish a piece that claims otherwise.” China has punished both news organizations in the past for stories about corruption in the world’s second-largest economy.
The Chinese government blocked the Bloomberg website after it published articles on the wealth of Chinese leaders, including the new Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping. The New York Times has been blocked in China after it ran a series of incendiary pieces on corruption, including a story about the wealth of the former prime minister.
Bloomberg reporters were working on stories about hidden ties between one of China’s wealthiest men and the families of Chinese leaders, as well as an article about ties between international banks and the kids of Chinese leaders.