China Blocks ‘Panama Papers’ Search Keyword, Bans Discussions

China Blocks ‘Panama Papers’ Search Keyword, Bans Discussions
Sina Weibo Jon Russell / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

If you can read this article, you’re probably not from China. It is because the Chinese government has blocked anything about the controversial Panama Papers leak that shook the world earlier this week.


After news broke out about thousands of individuals around the world who were implicated in shadowy dealings with Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which offers offshore services, China has since blocked any material about the subject in its cyber world.

Internet users in mainland China are prompted with a giant exclamation point on a red background when they type in the search term “Panama Papers.” Discussions on social networking sites are also impossible across the communist country.

According to a report from the CNN Money, internet users are also banned from using several names of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, which were also implicated in the leaked documents.

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Hong Lei, China’s Foreign Ministry, on Tuesday’s press briefing, declined to give comments on anything about the Panama Papers leak, which is considered the biggest of its kind to date. Lei described the leaked documents as “pulled out of nowhere.”

A separate report from the New York Times showed that even searches of “Panama” would yield no relevant results across the country. The massive censorship is part of China’s effort to ensure such information would not reach the public, which may cause a negative effect on Jinping’s leadership, especially with his campaign to curb corruption in the government.

“If material from foreign media attacking China is found on any website, it will be dealt with severely,” an anonymous notice reads as quoted by the New York Times.

The papers are based on more than 11 million documents sent by an anonymous sender to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung. Jinping’s close relatives are among the thousands of Mossack Fonseca’s clients. The report was released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in cooperation with more than a hundred media partners worldwide.

The leaked documents reveal that Mossack Fonseca, founded by Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, has some of the world’s most powerful leaders, famous celebrities, and even Vatican executives as clients. It was also revealed that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s relatives are on the list as well.

Also Read: Panama Papers: Vladimir Putin, Jackie Chan Linked To Questionable Offshore Accounts

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