China blocks New York Times website after article

Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — China blocked access to The New York Times website Friday after the paper published a lengthy article claiming the family of Premier Wen Jiabao has amassed assets worth $2.7 billion through a web of investments.

The report said most of Wen's family's wealth was accumulated after he rose to high office in 2002.

Chinese censors also blocked the Times' Chinese-language site that carried a translated version of the story.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a press briefing that the report "blackens China and has ulterior motives." He refused to elaborate despite several follow-up questions.

Times' spokeswoman Eileen Murphy says the paper hoped access to the sites could be restored shortly.

While Wen is expected to leave his post in the spring, the report is a blow to his reputation as a politician concerned with bettering the lives of ordinary Chinese.

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