Social media posts discussing the financial dealings of the family of President Xi Jinping and other senior officials seem to be topping the censored list on the mainland.
State media have still not commented on the Panama Paper, documents which reveal hidden offshore accounts held by 140 politicians and public officials from around the world. The documents were shared with media worldwide by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The ICIJ’s website is blocked on the mainland, but some Weibo users managed to see the findings, and discussed them online. Hundreds of discussions were posted on Weibo and Wechat on Monday morning, but, according to the BBC, many of these posts were removed later that day.
“Panama” also became the most censored term yesterday on the website Freeweibo.com, which tries to uncover all the blocked terms on Weibo.
One of those mentioned in the posts was Xi’s brother-in-law Deng Jiagui. He set up two British Virgin Islands companies in 2009 when Xi was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee but not yet president. Since becoming president that same year, Xi has pushed for transparency, with a huge anti-graft campaign to clean the party ’s ranks of corruption.
Foreign media outlets have claimed that Xi (above) and his family have enormous wealth. In 2012, Bloomberg news revealed that Deng and his wife had accumulated millions of US dollars in company shares and property assets, but this information is usually censored on the mainland internet.
The leaks also mention kung fu superstar Jackie Chan, who has at least six companies managed by the law firm that had the papers. But the ICIJ clarified: “As with many of Mossack Fonseca’s clients, there is no evidence that Chan used his companies for improper purposes. Having an offshore company isn’t illegal.”