Family Fortunes: Report into Chinese leader's hidden riches blocked

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks during a joint press conference with Prime Minister David Cameron at the Foreign Office in London in 2011.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks during a joint press conference with Prime Minister David Cameron at the Foreign Office in London in 2011. Photo: Carl Court/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The New York Times, which this week had an exclusive and extensively detailed report claiming that Premier Wen Jiabao's family owned assets worth 1.6 Billion pounds, has been blocked on the Internet by censors, shortly after publication on Friday.

Bloomberg is still blocked weeks after their exposé of the next President Xi Jinping's family fortunes.

The Government is more worried about the New York Times, because it launched a Chinese language version this year.

It could be months before they are unblocked, if they are at all.

Original copies of The New York Times pictured, the newspaper which has detailed a report into Premier Wen Jiabao's wealth.
Original copies of The New York Times pictured, the newspaper which has detailed a report into Premier Wen Jiabao's wealth. Credit: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The allegations of China's leaders using their power to enrich their families are currently highly toxic, especially as the Communist Party has just made a very public example of Bo Xilai's corruption.However, the authorities know that those who regularly read the NYT and Bloomberg simply use a Virtual Private Network (VPN); and are only delayed by a few seconds.

It's worth remembering that almost 60% of people in China are not online and the majority do not read English. So it's relatively easy for the Government to stamp on stories written by US or UK media which could threaten their control.