CHINA has blocked the New York Times website and censored social media after the paper published an article saying Premier Wen Jiabao’s family members and relatives control assets worth at least US$2.7 billion. The state has blocked the report despite that fact that the Times makes it clear that no holdings have been found in Wen’s name and says it is uncertain how much the 70-year-old knows about his family’s wealth. On the blocking of the paper’s website, government spokesman said only that “China manages the internet in accordance with laws and rules” …
Several of Wen’s close relatives have become extremely wealthy since his ascent to the top leadership. But in many cases their holdings were obscured by layers of partnerships and investment involving friends, colleagues or business partners. The investigation has showed that much of the Premier’s wealth has been accumulated in areas of the economy over which he has direct authority. The report is embarrassing, where Wen Jiabao enjoys a reputation in China as a populist and a reformer, and it often referred to in the state-run media as “the People’s Premier”. The Times report comes at a sensitive time in China, where the divide between rich and poor is growing.
The story lasted less than three hours on the New York Times English website in China before authorities not only blocked the site, but then blocked the Times Chinese language site as well. Sina Weibo, an extremely popular mini-blogging service in China that resembles Twitter, searches for Wen Jiabao are not available, even the term “$2.7 billion” was blocked too. Several users commented on the report on the Sina Weibo service, but the remarks were quickly deleted. BBC news and Taiwanese media report were blacked out in Beijing as it referred to the article.
Despite the censorship, there were signs that the article was attracting attention. According to the company’s statistics, the number of page views and unique users of the Chinese-language site fell by only a third, even though 85 percent of users are typically located in mainland China. The investigative article was the site’s most popular, drawing nearly a third of page views, while the home page drew another third. In July, The New York Times Chinese language web site was not allowed to socialize on Chinese Internet, their official account on Sina Weibo was terminated for no reason. As the continued strength of traffic to the site, it was a sign that many users were using VPN to effectively bypass servers in China and circumvent the country’s censors.
The New York Times is not the first international news agency to run into trouble with Chinese censors. A Bloomberg report in June on the accumulated wealth of the family of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping was also blocked. Chinese interruption of Internet access was typical of the response to information that offended leaders. China maintains the world’s most extensive and sophisticated system for Internet censorship, employing tens of thousands of people to monitor what is said, delete entries that contravene the country’s extensive and unpublished regulations. This is what the communist government always do: they get mad, they will make you ‘vanish’ in China’s internet.
You Can Buy Fresh Crocodile Meat in China Supermarket
Lenovo First MediaTek-based Smartphone Teased by Kobe Bryant (Video)
Chinese Employees Ordered to Crawl Like Dog in Public to Cope with Stress (Video)
Chinese Scientist Only Interested in Porn and Pirated Movies, Not NASA Secrets