Michael Forsythe with Bloomberg News discusses China’s public documents at HKBU-SOPA Award Winners Forum yesterday. Photo: Bruce Yan


Nov. 6, 2013
By Amanda Hua

China’s enormous wealth of public documents makes it a journalist’s paradise, Michael Forsythe, a Hong Kong-based correspondent for Bloomberg News, said at a forum on investigative journalism in Asia yesterday.

 “I love going through documents in China. There is so much information that has not been processed. Journalists could have so many stories,” he said.

Forsythe’s award-winning article on China President Xi Jinping and his family wealth was based on public documents, he said. In China, bond prospectuses and company filings disclose massive amounts of information.

“One day we found on the Internet his family name popping up in the financial documents,” he said. “One thing led to another. We found more and more documents on the Internet. Then we had the story.”

China blocked the Bloomberg News website after the publication of Forsythe’s article. But Forsythe encouraged journalists to continue investigative reporting.

“Government is not going to do it. It is up to the journalists to do it to make China a better place,” he said. “Chinese journalists would have done this story long time ago if they didn’t have the pressure from the government.”

The forum brought together five winning journalists of the SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence to discus investigative reporting in Asia. The forum was held at Hong Kong Baptist University yesterday.