This time it’s the New York Times that has Chinese Internet censors raising the digital gates. Shortly after the publication of a lengthy article on Oct. 26 asserting that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s family members “have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion,” the media company’s English and Chinese websites were blocked within China. Then came the official government condemnation. “Some reports smear China and have ulterior motives,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular press briefing when asked about the censorship of the story. China’s Internet is managed “in accordance with laws,” the spokesman said.
This follows an earlier online clampdown on Bloomberg LP, which owns this website and Bloomberg Businessweek magazine. Both its website and that of Bloomberg Businessweek have been blocked since Bloomberg News published a report on June 29 detailing how the extended family of Vice President Xi Jinping came to control assets worth $376 million. Xi is expected to take over from Hu Jintao as China’s next top leader at a once-every-five year Party Congress, opening Nov. 8.