China has blocked access to The New York Times’s website (both in English and in Chinese) after the paper published a piece on its Prime Minister’s extreme wealth. The piece — written by David Barboza — reports that Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and his family have accumulated about $2.7 billion in assets.
According to the Times, the article went online at 4:34 am Friday in China; by 7 am the sites were blocked. The government is also trying to block online searches for “The New York Times” and mentions of the paper or article on a popular blogging site. The report is upsetting Chinese officials because it soils the reputation of Wen, who is stepping down this spring.
The Times, meanwhile, is trying to get the site unblocked. ”We hope that full access is restored shortly, and we will ask the Chinese authorities to ensure that our readers in China can continue to enjoy New York Times journalism,” said Times spokesperson, Eileen Murphy, in a statement. “We will continue to report and translate stories applying the same journalistic standards that are upheld across The New York Times.”