China blocks New York Times website after article

      BEIJING (AP) - China blocked access to The New York Times website Friday after the paper published a lengthy article claiming the family of Premier Wen Jiabao has amassed assets worth $2.7 billion through a web of investments.

      The report said most of Wen's family's wealth was accumulated after he rose to high office in 2002.

      Chinese censors also blocked the Times' Chinese-language site that carried a translated version of the story.

      Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a press briefing that the report "blackens China and has ulterior motives." He refused to elaborate despite several follow-up questions.

      Times' spokeswoman Eileen Murphy says the paper hoped access to the sites could be restored shortly.

      While Wen is expected to leave his post in the spring, the report is a blow to his reputation as a politician concerned with bettering the lives of ordinary Chinese.