Chinese take on Panama papers: Selective scrutiny by western media under US influence

The party mouthpiece says the western media takes a motivated stand each time there is a sensitive data leak.

The Chinese government hasn't yet responded officially to revelations in the Panama papers that families of President Xi Jinping and other powerful leaders had engaged in money laundering and tax evasion with the help of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

However, the state media has squarely blamed the western press for the revelations, even as Beijing limited local access to coverage of the biggest data leak in history that exposed financial wrongdoing of the world's high and mighty.

The Global Times, Chinese communist Party mouthpiece, wrote a strongly worded editorial saying the western media "collected the most eye-catching information from the documents and leaders of non-Western countries have been scrutinized."

It cited the example of how Russian President Vladimir Putin was implicated in the scam by revealing that one of close friends laundered $1 billion. "The Western media has opaquely described it as "Putin's money laundering," Global Times said.

The editorial compares the latest leaks with the WikiLeaks, saying it had a visible figurehead behind it. "However the documents revealed do have basic political targets, which is food for thought," the paper said.

The party mouthpiece said the western media takes a motivated stand each time there is a sensitive data leak and that this happens under the behest of the western governments.

"The Western media has taken control of the interpretation each time there has been such a document dump, and Washington has demonstrated particular influence in it," the paper said.

The paper, however, does not think the Mossack Fonseca documents are fabricated. It contends that if the western interests were under attack, this sort of disclosures would not survive.

"It is risky to claim the leaked information is fabricated. It can be predicted that such disclosure will not survive if it embarrasses the West. But the West will be happy to see such leaks happen if their opponents are attacked," the paper said.

Major global media houses had exposed the wealth of Chinese leaders in the past. In 2012, Bloomberg reported about the business holdings related to President Xi Jinping worth hundreds of millions of dollars. This was followed by a New York Times report on then-prime minister Wen Jiabao's relatives' wealth.

As many as 12 current or former heads of state figured in the 11.5 million documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Around 60 people linked to current or former world leaders were also named in the data dump.

These include Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugson, the family of UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Chinese leaders.

The files also revealed the names of Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak, former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Malaysian Prime Minister Najb Razak, former Chinese PM Li Peng, South Africa President Jacob Zuma, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan also featured in the list through children or close relatives.