China denies targeting Bloomberg over coverage

China denies targeting Bloomberg over coverage
Workers pass by a giant world clock on the upper floor of the Bloomberg Tower, the headquarters of Bloomberg News in New York.

BEIJING - Beijing denied Tuesday it had sought to target Bloomberg news agency by blocking one of its reporters from a joint event with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Bloomberg's website has been blocked in China since it reported last year on the wealth of President Xi Jinping's family, and it has recently been embroiled in controversy over an unpublished article about a tycoon's links to senior Communist figures.

Robert Hutton, a UK-based Bloomberg reporter traveling as part of the entourage accompanying Cameron on his visit to China, was told at the last minute he would be unable to attend Monday's joint Cameron-Li press statement.

Hutton was blocked from the event - where no questions were taken - because Chinese officials believed his participation "would not be appropriate," according to multiple reports.

China's one-party state keeps tight restrictions on domestic media, and authorities stress that foreign news organisations are subject to Chinese law within the country.

Cameron personally raised the matter of the reporter's exclusion later Monday after a dinner with Xi, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Cameron's office said in a statement that before the event, it "raised our concerns at senior levels and made clear it would be completely inappropriate to exclude journalists from the press statements."

"When we heard what had happened today we expressed our deep concern to senior Chinese officials about journalists being blocked," it added.

China's foreign ministry denied that Bloomberg had been intentionally targeted.

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