'Censorship' row overshadows David Cameron trip to woo China

Downing St make official complaint after financial journalist on PM's delegation banned from only official public event

Beijing

David Cameron's attempts to "turn a page" on Britain's relationship with China is overshadowed by an unwelcome diplomatic row with its Communist party leadership over censorship.

Downing Street was forced to make an official complaint to senior Chinese officials after a financial journalist on the Prime Minister's delegation was banned from attending the only official public event on the trip.

While no reason was given for ban the reporter worked for the financial wire service Bloomberg which has written critical stories about the party leadership.

A senior embassy official said that they had been warned two days before that Robert Hutton would not be welcome to attend the press conference in Beijing with David Cameron and his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang.

"We were told by the Chinese authorities that it would not be appropriate for you to attend," the embassy official told Mr Hutton.

When Downing Street were informed they tried with no avail to get the ban lifted. They then made an official complaint to the Chinese authorities.

A Number 10 spokesman said: "As soon as this issue became apparent on Sunday, we 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."

The ban is embarrassing for Mr Cameron as he had hoped the focus of the trip to be about improving British Chinese trade and move on from a focus on human rights and freedom of speech.

But having said in the run up to the trip that "nothing was off limits" in discussions Downing Street had little choice but to make an official complaint - especially as Mr Hutton is a Westminster-based journalist travelling with Mr Cameron's delegation.

The Bloomberg website is blocked in China after it ran stories on the wealth of families of senior leaders including relatives of the president, Xi Jinping.

The US news organisation last month denied that it deliberately pulled a similar sensitive story following a New York Times report.

That said editors had been concerned its ability to report from China would be compromised if it ran the piece. Bloomberg said the piece was still in preparation.

Video: China launches Moon mission

By default player size is set to 420 x 315px. But you can resize player width and height once you get the player code using player params.
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect