China's 'red nobility' became the most recent in a line of politicians and businessmen to have to answer to the existence of offshore accounts with secretive Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
China's ruling elite has responded by blocking all access to the news.
Reports by the ICIJ suggest that relatives of at least eight former and current members of the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee have offshore accounts.
In addition, President Xi Jinping's brother-in-law is revealed to have accounts, as well as family members of two current Politburo Standing Committee members, Zhang Gaoli and Liu Yunshan.
Photo: Guang Niu/Getty Images
In light of such implications, China adopted the perfect response:
China’s censors have been working overtime to ensure that any mention of the Panama Papers - and related phrases - are removed on Weibo (a platform similar to Twitter).
State television channels have been studiously ignoring the biggest leak in history, and the vast majority of newspapers have likewise stayed far away.
When asked to comment on the leak at a press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei was succinct:
We won’t comment no these groundless accusations.
According to the South China Morning Post, searches for the word “Panama” on Chinese search engines bring up stories about the leak that have been blocked, and searching “Panama Papers” elicits a warning:
[The results] may not across with relevant laws and rules so can not be shown
China is notorious for its suffocating state censorship, and past attempts to censor information which criticises the government - such as the Tianjin explosion which killed at least 114 people in 204 - have largely failed.