The story “Who Owns Luneng?”, now back online, was censored immediately after Caijing Magazine published it in January 2007. At newsstands, the magazine was bought up not by readers, but by people who didn’t want others to read it. On the internet, it was deleted with only the headline remaining. The story is one of the early ones about the ties between money and power in China, an enduring theme in award-winning reporting produced by Chinese and foreign journalists.
This one didn’t get a trophy, but it deserves a place in the history of China’s journalism. It’s a rare story on how state assets, in this case a state-owned utility company worth $10 billion, was sold to private companies linked to top officials at the astonishing bargain price of half a billion dollars. The story didn’t stop such behavior, yet it shed light on how public assets were put into private pockets, a theme reporters have returned to again and again. I’d like to believe this is a significant story that has encouraged that kind of coverage.