Assignment: China – Follow the Money

A 12-part documentary series produced by the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California called “Assignment: China” chronicles, “the history of American correspondents in China from the 1940s to the present day.” The final episode examines the work of foreign journalists who conducted investigations into the wealth of China’s top leaders and their families:

In many decades of western news coverage of China, 2012 was a watershed moment. In the space of just a few months, a Bloomberg News team headed by correspondent Michael Forsythe publishing a sweeping expose of how relatives of China’s new leader, Xi Jinping, has earned vast fortunes in a variety of often disguised business deals. Soon after, David Barboza of the New York Times published his own revelations of the wealth accumulated by the relatives of Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.

Both stories broke new ground, not only in terms of what they revealed about China’s new rich- but also as examples of a new kind of investigative journalism that has become increasingly important for covering a rapidly changing China. The correspondents took advantage of China’s evolution towards a more open, internationally engaged, market-style economy to unravel a series of complex, opaque, often hidden set of business dealings reaching to the highest levels in the People’s Republic.

All episodes of the series can be viewed on the USCI Youtube channel: