On April 14, New York Times reporters Kirk Semple and Eric Schmitt published an article titled “China’s Actions in Hunt for Jet Are Seen as Hurting as Much as Helping" that quoted two government officials -- one from the US and one from Malaysia, both unnamed -- who said China has not, to put it nicely, contributed much to the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. It was a disturbing piece, not least because it seemed to signal the search may have entered a new phase in which the frustrations and difficulties of finding the missing jet could spill into finger-pointing and politics.
Bloomberg continues to lose longtime reporters because it values financial services over journalism. On Monday, Bloomberg News editor Ben Richardson, based in Hong Kong, resigned after 13 years with the company over the mishandling of an investigative piece -- it was unceremoniously spiked -- about a Chinese entrepreneur's financial ties with Communist Party leaders and their families.
"Is Beijing about to Boot the New York Times?" asks the headline to this Foreign Policy article (not paywalled!) by Isaac Stone Fish. It's a fair bit of speculation: 12 Times journalists are apparently anxiously waiting for their annual visa renewals, as revealed by two sources speaking to FP on background. (Emphasis on either "anxious" or "still waiting," depending on your level of cynicism about media / China.) About a dozen Bloomberg journalists are reportedly in the same boat.
The latest column from New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan is about China: an article that first summarizes why it's becoming increasingly difficult for foreign correspondents to work here, then reminds its readers that the Times remains -- unlike Bloomberg, I think is clearly one implication -- a news company first and foremost.
In an otherwise excellent piece on Chinese tennis star Li Na, Brook Larmer, writing in the New York Times, made one critical error, which Chinese media quickly pointed out. The offending passage originally read:
David Barboza’s expose on the extent of Wen Jiabao’s family’s “hidden riches” has won him a Putlizer. He beat out the Associated Press for its coverage in Syria and Richard Marosi of the Los Angeles Times for his work on deportation of Mexican immigrants.
Chinese hackers, possibly using phishing software, reportedly broke into the New York Times's computer network four months ago and installed malware that enabled them to access the personal computers of 53 employees. All indications are that the attack is a response to the paper's investigation, led by Shanghai bureau chief David Barboza, into premier Wen Jiabao's family fortunes. The NY Times says its computers were compromised as far back as September 13, just as they were wrapping up reporting for the Wen piece, which was published on October 25.
They're already blocked, so fuck it, right? The New York Times has continued to delve into Wen Jiabao's "hidden family fortunes," following up on its original blockbuster that got the website blocked on the mainland. In "Lobbying, a Windfall and a Leader’s Family," David Barbosa and co. report that Wen Jiabao was directly responsible for keeping the company from breaking up. In 1999...
Nice one, Gramps Wen. Via South China Morning Post (above image by cartoonist Harry Harrison):
The lawyers for the Wen Jiabao family issued an official statement yesterday regarding the New York Times's recent piece that got the website harmonized inside China. It's "a rare instance of a powerful Chinese political family responding directly to a foreign media report," NY Times reports. But the lawyers, while trying to deny everything, actually deny nothing. Read the translated statement closely, as brought to you by SCMP:
On what day will the NY Times homepage be unblocked in China? Please submit your answer either in the comment section or via email. You can also tweet at us. We will try our best to send a prize to the person who nails the correct date.
While everyone else was talking about Ai Weiwei, the New York Times had the temerity to publish an explosive report about Premier Wen Jiabao, probably the most popular and ostensibly clean politician in China. Grandpa Wen, as he's affectionately called, has apparently made a lot of money for his family, but that should come as no surprise to anyone. But the Times is currently in Chinese Internet purgatory because it painstakingly detailed exactly how much money: "A review of corporate and regulatory records indicates that the prime minister’s relatives, some of whom have a knack for aggressive deal-making, including his wife, have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion." And it's $2.7 billion that Wen's family has taken pains to not disclose.