One of China's most influential journalists said Monday that efforts to silence the country's press frequently come from "private interests" rather than Beijing's official army of censors.
The remarks of Hu Shuli, editor-in-chief of the independent Caixin Media, come despite widespread criticisms over Beijing's clampdown on critics and perception that the media are often told to toe the official line.
"It is not mainly from the government side," Hu, dubbed "the most dangerous woman in China" for her investigative and scathing reporting, told the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Hong Kong.
"Quite a lot of the (efforts) to stop the news is from the commercial side... from people who don't want to be criticised," said Hu, who is also the former editor of China's popular Caijing magazine.
Hu is widely credited with making Caijing one of China's most respected publications, known for reporting that pushed the limits of what is allowed in a national media tightly controlled by the ruling Communist Party.
She left Caijing in 2009 amid intense speculation that she was battling management efforts to silence her editorial team, sparking mass resignations by reporters, editors and salespeople at the magazine, according to reports.
Hu said growing international interest in China's booming economy -- and the country's mounting social problems -- have created a "golden opportunity" for reporting by independent media.
Hu acknowledged that she has "compromised" on certain stories, but said "we try our best not to compromise". She did not elaborate.
After she left Caijing, Hu co-founded Caixin Media, which has started distributing an English-language version of its weekly magazine in Hong Kong, with plans to target US and European readers through a soon-to-be-released iPad application.