News / Asia

China Blocks NYTimes Website Over Story on Wen Jiabao

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks during an EU-China summit in Brussels on Sept. 20, 2012.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks during an EU-China summit in Brussels on Sept. 20, 2012.
Chinese government censors moved quickly to block the New York Times website Friday after it published a blockbuster story detailing the massive wealth accumulated by the family of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

The report threatened to shatter the public image of Wen, who is known as a compassionate, reformist leader with a modest background. The Times says a review of corporate and regulatory records indicate the prime minister's relatives control assets of at least $2.7 billion.

Just hours after the article was posted, access to the paper's English and Chinese-language websites was blocked throughout China. Censors also hurried to delete references to the prime minister and his family on China's Twitter-like Weibo microblog, while the Times' Chinese social media accounts were also deleted.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei condemned the article on Friday, telling reporters that it was meant to "smear China" and had "ulterior motives."

NY Times reacts

Eileen Murphy, the paper's spokeswoman, expressed disappointment and said she hopes full access is restored soon. But she said the Times refuses to compromise its journalistic standards.  Following the June launch of its Chinese-language site, the paper made a similar commitment, vowing not to tailor its content based on "the demands of the Chinese government."

In a move suggesting it anticipated China's anger at the Friday article on Wen, the Times made the Chinese-language version available for download in PDF format, making it much easier to distribute.

Corruption allegations

It is not the first time that Beijing has blocked Chinese access to Western news outlets that posted stories exposing senior level government corruption. Bloomberg's website has been blocked since June, when it ran a similar story describing the wealth amassed by the family of Vice President Xi Jinping, who is likely to become the country's leader for the next decade.

The stories are a major embarrassment for the Communist Party, which has vowed to crack down on corruption following widespread public anger over several high profile scandals. They also come just before a sensitive, once-a-decade leadership transition, which begins in less than two weeks with the 18th Party Congress.

The transition has already been overshadowed by the downfall of former Politburo member Bo Xilai, whose wife was convicted of corruption and murder in August. State media said Friday that Bo, under investigation for corruption and bribery, has been stripped of his legal immunity, suggesting he will soon stand trial.

Censorship

China's extensive network of Internet censors, dubbed the Great Firewall of China, has been working extra hard in the lead-up to the November 8 Congress to delete any sensitive online content regarding Bo or other senior Communist Party members.

Many analysts, speaking on the condition of anonymity, say they expect the censorship to get worse as the date of the Congress approaches, noting that Beijing has in the past throttled Internet communication ahead of sensitive political events.

Some foreign journalists in China have already reported slower than usual Internet connections and increased trouble accessing VPNs, which allow users to circumvent Chinese censorship. The cause of the problem is difficult to identify, since Internet access in China is normally inconsistent and those wanting to access barred foreign websites must already play a cat-and-mouse game in order to do so.

Recent problems with the Internet have become so widespread that The Relevant Organs, a spoof Chinese government Twitter account, joked this week that the "next notch on the Internet Slower-Downer is off," saying foreigners should "catch the hint and get out of town for the Party Congress."

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
October 30, 2012 11:23 AM
Now, it has reported that Wen eventually announced a statement that denied the news alleging his relatives of enomous moneymaking by corrupton. This kind of prompt responce is noticed as an ever rare action by leaders of origarchy in China. Is this a dim sign of Chinese govrnment's change to ease intelligence regulation? I hope the original website would be restored by Chinese authorities themselves. And then, Wen could accuse news source of falsehood if he want. I think these procedures could be conducted for sure in the real democratic society.


by: jianhua from: east regon
October 30, 2012 1:39 AM
it is not true


by: jianhua from: china
October 29, 2012 11:14 PM
it is hard for me to believe there is such a event involved about wen.the reporter must be for for political purposes or want to discredit his images. Wen has been respected and loved by most Chinese people and especially by normal people since as a Premier. i also love him very much as an ordinary person of china and trust him to be one of best leaders of china in history.
the history wil judge him objectively and fairly and give him a clean record!

In Response

by: ts from: earth
October 31, 2012 10:07 AM
Many Chinese say the same things about Mao, murderer of 70 million citizens. Chinese are the last fools on earth who will believe their government's every lie, spread by their media and education system.


by: john from: german
October 29, 2012 10:20 PM
Corruption for the CCP is "famous" and known by everyone in china, 90% of the society wealth is robbed by the party,an ordinary family can't afford to buy a living house even by spending their whole lifetime.In china, basic human rights can't be protected,no fairness and justice for the common people, and they are eager to overthrow the rule of dark CP.
I'm so sad for the chinese people that they have no guns and arms to fight their enemy. As the wake up of people, i'm sure you will beat your enemy with your courage and anger in the end.


by: WTF?
October 28, 2012 8:44 AM
Yes, by showing that Wen's family is rich you thereby prove that Wen did not come from a humble background.

Apparently reporters from the NYTs have never taken logic classes. Or if they have they probably failed and decided to become journalists where logic does not apply.


by: Anonymous from: China
October 28, 2012 7:01 AM
I'm an ordinary Chinese people,knowing that Premier We is an advocate of deep political reform in China and he's respected and prestigious among the majority of the Chinese people. I'm so sorry and frustrated to see the report,whether it's true or not,history will judge,as Mr. Wen used to say "fairness and justice are brighter than the sun",history will tell us something.

In Response

by: john from: german
October 29, 2012 10:35 PM
the fact is that Wen had changed nothing until he stepped down. it's impossible for the CCP to hand out their thievery and give up plunder. Only the mass chinese people have the power and strength to start and finish political reform, possibly by the uprising, not peacefully.


by: Communist Buster
October 27, 2012 3:06 PM
Prime minister (Wen Jiabao)'s relatives control assets of at least $2.7 billion----Oh, poor Chinese people! They are all uninformed that Communist leaders are all habitual criminals of corruption. Instead, Chinese people are puppets in the hands of Communist leaders, bullying neighboring south east countries and provoking Japan. Chinese people should regain their own wealth, freedom, and even human rights and live peacefully along with people of neighboring countries.

In Response

by: bety from: Vietnam
October 29, 2012 9:51 AM
eric: Japan occupied Senkaku in 1895 legally and has been controlling it since then.
China didn't complain about it until oil was found nearby sea.
Stop telling a lie and bullying neighbors.
Stop oppressing Tibetans and Uighurs.

China is an aggressor and sick man of Asia..

In Response

by: liuzhengzi from: hubei province,china
October 29, 2012 1:36 AM
I am a Chinese .why you, as a foreign ,want to care about the affairs of china which really is somebody’s doubt and lies but do not care about the fact of Chinese ? we like our government ,and absolutely trust our government which is the reason why we hardly say “no”.
As for the south chinese sea, we don’t bully south east countries, the place belong to china

In Response

by: eric
October 28, 2012 10:04 AM
provoke japan? can you tell why you think china provoke japan instead of japan provoking china first. curruption is serious in china. that' true even though i can be sure if this article is right. but this crisis between china and japan is because japan invade china's island first but china provoke japan deliberately.


by: reform supporters from: China
October 27, 2012 2:28 PM
Since cpc's father, Mao Zedong, was a corrupted leader, we think no cpc leader is clean. That's to say, it is mainland political constitution to be blamed for the corruption issue, not any individual cpc leader, or we can say, cpc leader's corruption is under the protection of their basic law which safeguards cpc's special benefits.
What's more, Chinese political reform and reunification need powerful leader like Wen. Advise China keep Wen as the head for the political reform consutant organization


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
October 27, 2012 7:59 AM
Corruption and bribery are always companions of autocracy governments. Where information is regulated and concealed by them, no protest brings about in general people. I hope Mr.Wen Jiabao is conscientious at least enough to account for the report.

In Response

by: Anonymous
October 27, 2012 1:20 PM
i'm somebody from TC,it's hard to register the wedsite and don't if i did it .so i type some words to have a try.if it did,all i want to say is i'm sorry about this,and so shameful^

In Response

by: Anonymous
October 27, 2012 12:41 PM
I bet he won't.

The oligarchy are so corrupted that, if he does, once the full extend of the corrupted, their days are numbered.

The average Chinese won't know such things of Wen's corruption either although they might have some very dim idea that every top leader and his/her families, including those remote ones, are corrupted in some way. But the details as revealed by the NYT report would still shock almost all ordinary Chinese if they could read the report.

So media censorship is necessary from the perspective of the oligarchy.


by: Communist Buster from: USA
October 27, 2012 7:41 AM
Prime minister (Wen Jiabao)'s relatives control assets of at least $2.7 billion----Oh, Jesus Christ! Poor Chinese people! They are all uninformed that Communist leaders are all habitual criminals of corruption. Instead, Chinese people are puppets in the hands of Communist leaders, bullying neighboring south east countries and provoking Japan. Chinese people should regain their own wealth, freedom, and even human rights and live peacefully along with people of neighboring countries.

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid