1. Robert Hutton, Bloomberg’s long-standing and respected U.K. political reporter, has been excluded from a press conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Hutton has spent a decade covering U.K. politics for the newswire service, building up a reputation for reliability while also writing the definitive guide to journalese — the language of news. In short, he’s not a loose cannon.
2. No direct reason was given for the decision to exclude Hutton from the press conference.
Cameron’s aides have fought hard for the Chinese trip, even postponing the Autumn Statement to ensure the trip could go ahead.
This morning Cameron held a joint press conference with the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, watched by a political reporter from almost every major U.K. news outlet. Hutton was told he wouldn’t be welcome.
3. But Bloomberg already has well-reported problems with China.
Bloomberg News has produced some high-profile stories that were highly embarrassing for the Chinese elite, including an expose that shows the enormous wealth of people associated with new President Xi Jinping.
This has caused trouble for sales of Bloomberg terminals in China. These pieces of expensive technology cost tens of thousands of pounds a year and subsidise the news operation.
The Bloomberg News website is blocked in mainland China and last month it was alleged that the company has not published articles that could enrage the Chinese leadership.
4. According to The Guardian’s Nicholas Watt, Downing Street officials complained about the decision to exclude Hutton.
No 10 has protested over ‘completely inappropriate’ decision of Chinese authorities to bar Bloomberg @RobDotHutton from Beijing press conf
No 10 raised ‘deep concerns’ over decision to bar @RobDotHutton from press conf with @David_Cameron + premier Li Keqiang in Beijing
7. Hutton wouldn’t even have had the chance to ask any questions.
Cameron and Keqiang read out prepared statements to the press and then left without talking to journalists.
8. But it still wasn’t enough for Hutton.
You can read Hutton’s latest – uncontroversial – report from the trip.
Or you could turn to his book of journalese and describe this as an unfair use of “arcane rules” cooked up in “smoke-filled rooms” that will “unleash” a “fierce” reaction against the Chinese media’s treatment of the press.