Chinese officials conducted “unannounced inspections” at two Bloomberg News bureausat the end of November, Fortune’s Peter Elkind and Scott Cendrowskireport.
The inspections at the Beijing and Shanghai bureaus came after Bloomberg decided to spike a year-long investigate story on alleged government corruption.
That decision, which Bloomberg News editor-in-chief Matt Winkler reportedly likened to media organisations attempting to preserve their ability to report inside Nazi Germany, was at best criticised as an attempt to stay in the good graces of Chinese leadership.
But some have accused Bloomberg of ditching the investigative story because it might undermine revenue in China from the more profitable side of its business, terminal sales. Bloomberg has roundly rejected that argument, maintaining that the damning article was “delayed” because it wasn’t ready (the reporter at the center of all this left the company).
Fortune says the details of the inspections are “sketchy.” Sources told them that officials came in for “security” or “safety” inspections, and Bloomberg reporters viewed the search “as an act of intimidation.”
During the visit, “at least one Chinese official asked the company for an apology from Winkler,” according to the report.
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