As the world watches Ukraine, the US establishment press pumps out pieces on the horrors of contemporary Russia. Meanwhile, the perilous situation for press freedom in China degenerates further. Unlike Russia, China has gone head first into neoliberalism making partnerships with many prominent Wall Street firms like JPMorgan, which apparently has dissipated the more venomous criticism from the US media establishment.
In 2012 China blocked access to the New York Times website after the paper ran an expose about Chinese officials and now Bloomberg News is having it’s own crisis over push back from the Chinese government on reporting political corruption in the country. Have you heard about it?
Ben Richardson has resigned from Bloomberg News after 13 years to protest editors’ handling of an investigative piece reported from China – a story that the bosses feared would get them expelled from the country…
Richardson, who was an editor at large for Asia news (he edited the enterprise stories and columns), writes in an email: “I left Bloomberg because of the way the story was mishandled, and because of how the company made misleading statements in the global press and senior executives disparaged the team that worked so hard to execute an incredibly demanding story.”
Richardson says the “threat of legal action” hangs over his head for speaking out about Bloomberg’s capitulation to the Chinese government so he merely affirmed the truth of other stories on the subject and publicly confirmed that the reason he resigned was the treatment of the story on corruption in the Chinese government.
Correspondingly, JPMorgan’s top Chinese Banker, Fang Fang, will be leaving his post thanks to an investigation into JPMorgan’s hiring practices in China. The investigation revolves around the charge that JPMorgan is under investigation for participating in the bribery of Chinese government officials.
JPMorgan Chase & Co’s chief executive for China investment banking, Fang Fang, will leave the firm, according to an internal memo – a departure that comes amid a probe of JPMorgan hiring practices in Asia. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported Fang’s departure, said he had emerged as a key figure for U.S. authorities as they investigate whether the investment bank violated bribery laws by improperly hiring the relatives of well-connected Chinese officials…
Fang has strong ties to the Chinese government, having been appointed to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in March 2008 for a five year term. Other firms that have come under scrutiny for their hiring practices in Asia include Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
That’s a lot of money on the table, for the media too. So it would seem that the Chinese leadership won’t face the same scrutiny as those in Russia. It’s just business.
It seems journalists of all backgrounds have a choice in China – ignore political corruption or report the truth and pack your bags.