BEIJING (Reuters) – The Bloomberg New Economy Forum will move to Singapore this year, in part because of the “very concerning” conditions journalists face in China, according to comments by Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg reported by the Financial Times.
The Nov. 16-19 event will be limited to 400 participants, with sustainability as well as COVID-19 and how countries can recover from its impact among topics for discussion, according to a media release on Thursday.
Bloomberg, the billionaire founder of Bloomberg News and the former mayor of New York City, also cited “logistics” as a reason to hold the event in Singapore, the Financial Times reported.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for elaboration on his comments.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday that he was not aware of the situation, but said that in China “journalists’ legal right to interview and report is fully safeguarded by the law.”
In March, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) said Beijing had used coronavirus prevention measures, intimidation and visa curbs to limit foreign reporting in 2020, ushering in a “rapid decline in media freedom”.
Last year Chinese authorities detained Haze Fan, a Chinese national working for Bloomberg News, as well as Cheng Lei, an Australian citizen working for Chinese state media, on suspicion of endangering national security. Both remain in detention.
The first Bloomberg New Economy Forum, in 2018, was to be held in Beijing but was shifted to Singapore amid rising tensions between China and the United States. It was held in Beijing the next year, and returned to the Chinese capital virtually in 2020 due to the pandemic.
China has managed to curtail the domestic spread of COVID-19 and has drastically cut down on the number of arrivals from overseas, who are typically required to undergo at least two weeks of quarantine.
(Reporting by David Kirton; Editing by Stephen Coates and Kim Coghill)