Mossack Fonseca, the Panama-based law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers, has more offices in China than in any other country in the world.
The Panama Papers, which includes 11.5 million confidential documents, has been linked to a number of political leaders, business people and actors. They revealed that Mossack Fonseca had helped international clients launder money and evade paying taxes.
The Panama firm’s website claims to operate branches in eight Chinese cities that include Dalian, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Jinan, Shanghai, Jinan, Ningbo and Qingdao. According to The Guardian, an internal survey of Mossack Fonseca showed that the largest proportion of its offshore company owners were from mainland China, with Hong Kong coming in second.
In addition, investigators of the Panama Papers discovered that President Xi Jinping’s brother-in-law as well as eight family members of current or former members of the Chinese Politburo were linked to the documents.
Names of people tied to the papers as well as the search terms “Panama Papers” and the country of Panama itself have been censored by regulators of the Chinese internet. In addition, state medias were instructed not to publish any information regarding the leaks. Foreign media publications were threatened to “be dealt with severely” if reports attacked China.