'New York Times blocked by China after report on wealth of Wen Jiabao's family:
Authorities censor publication after revelations that the premier's relatives have accumulated billions during his leadership:
China's foreign ministry has accused the New York Times of smearing the country by reporting that the premier Wen Jiabao's extended family has controlled assets worth at least $2.7bn (£1.67bn).
A spokesman, Hong Lei, said the report "blackens China's name and has ulterior motives". Authorities have also blocked the news organisation's main and Chinese-language websites and banned searches for "New York Times" in English and Chinese on microblogs.
"China manages the internet in accordance with laws and rules," Hong told reporters at a daily briefing when asked why the sites were inaccessible.
The New York Times reported that several of Wen's close relatives had become extremely wealthy since his ascent to leadership. But in many cases their holdings were obscured by layers of partnerships and investment vehicles involving friends, colleagues or business partners, it said, in a detailed and lengthy account based on an extensive review of company and regulatory filings.
A single investment held on paper by Wen's 90-year-old mother Yang Zhiyun – a retired schoolteacher – was worth $120m five years ago, the New York Times said. It added it was unclear if Yang was aware of the holdings in her name.
The report is embarrassing not only for Wen himself – who comes from a modest background and is widely seen as the sympathetic, populist face of the government – but for the party. It is the latest in a string of unwelcome revelations about the vast wealth amassed by those around senior leaders.
Authorities blocked the Bloomberg website earlier this year after it exposed the multimillion-dollar assets held by the extended family of Xi Jinping, heir-apparent to the presidency. The news agency has also reported that relatives of the disgraced politician Bo Xilai accumulated at least $136m in assets.'