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Chinese State Newspaper Blasts NYTimes Over Wen Story

  • VOA News

China's Premier Wen Jiabao May 13, 2012 file photo.

China's Premier Wen Jiabao May 13, 2012 file photo.

A state-controlled Chinese newspaper is lashing out at the New York Times, just days after the U.S. paper published a story reportedly exposing the hidden wealth of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's family.

The People's Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party, said Monday in a combative article in its Chinese-language edition that the Times could not be trusted because of its history of "faking" and "distorting" news.

The lengthy article did not respond directly to the Friday story about Wen's finances. Instead, it focused on what it described as "an explosion in plagiarism and fabrication" by the Times, mentioning the past cases of journalists Jayson Blair and Zachery Kouwe.

The Chinese government quickly blocked the Times' website Friday after it published the results of a months-long investigation that found Wen's family controlled $2.7 billion in assets.

Wen's family has rejected the report. The family's lawyer said in a statement in the South China Morning Post the "so-called hidden riches" documented by the Times do not exist. It warned that the family reserves the right to take legal action against the paper.

The story threatened to shatter the public image of the prime minister, who is known as "Grandpa Wen" for his reputation as a compassionate, reformist leader with a modest background.

It was also a major embarrassment for the Communist Party, which has vowed to crack down on corruption following widespread public anger over several high-profile scandals.

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