The New York Times goes dark in China after exposé on premier’s family’s fortune

The New York Times goes dark in China after exposé on premier’s family’s fortune

The website of The New York Times has been summarily blocked in China after the paper published a report outing the immense wealth that Premier Wen Jiabao’s family has built up during his tenure as a top government official.

The Times culled regulatory filings and corporate documents and spoke to former business associates to arrive that the conclusion that Wen’s wife and relatives have amassed at least $2.7 billion, with most of it made while Wen was in power.

The paper stopped short of directly calling out Wen for corruption, as it was unable to find clear evidence showing that Wen acted inappropriately in his dealings. In fact, it noted that Wen himself has appeared to express some dissatisfaction at how his family has profited from their close connections to one of China’s most powerful men.

Regardless, the Chinese government has taken a hard line against discussing the finances of leaders’ families, especially in the run-up to its 18th National Congress, which takes place next month and involves a transfer of power. Bloomberg saw its website blocked in the country earlier this year after writing a similar story about the business interests of Xi Jinping’s relatives. Xi is set to become China’s next president.

Other websites that have been obstructed in China include Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as numerous politically sensitive sites.

The Times introduced a Chinese-language site earlier this year. That publication is also currently blocked in China.

Related: The great firewall: China’s digital margins

Image credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images

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